Oklahoma man Payton Heird, 22, was arrested early Sunday morning after he attacked and threatened Zuria Hurst, 18, on Baker’s Bridge. Guthrie Police are now investigating whether or not Heird’s actions were a hate crime. Heird, who was out on bail for sex crime charges stemming from a 2017 arrest, had been drinking when an argument broke out with Hurst. Heird starting throwing rocks at Hurst and calling her the “n” word. He also spat in her face and threatened to kill her. When the incident continued to escalate, Hurst called the police, telling the 911 dispatcher she was being threatened, was hit with a rock in the temple, and needed help.
Heird fled the scene, but the officers quickly tracked him down. According to police, Heird had a loaded gun in his vehicle and police were thankful he didn’t retrieve it during the argument. Besides the hate crime, Heird also faces felony charges of threatening an act of violence and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was also arrested and charged in 2017 with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of sexual abuse of a minor. He is due in court next month.
Hate crimes in the US were at a 12-year high in 2020. According to an annual report by the FBI, hate crimes among black Americans are up 40% and up 70% for Asian Americans from last year. Black people were still the most targeted group overall. In 2020 more than 10,000 Americans reported crimes related to race, gender, sexuality, religion, or disability. Of all the known offenders 55% were white.
Hate crimes are acts of violence or intimidation that are motivated by one’s belief in the superiority of one race over another. They often take the form of verbal abuse, physical assault, property damage, and other criminal behavior. The term can also refer to any crime committed against a person who belongs to a certain group; for instance, gender, religion, or sexuality. Hate crimes tend to be violent towards those who look different through racism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.
Because hate crimes are on the rise black people are buying guns at an extraordinary rate. Gun purchases among Black men and women are up more than 58% over the first six months of 2020 and they don’t seem to be slowing. We aren’t sure if this increase will deter hate crimes, do know a lot of black folks aren’t taking it any longer.