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Rantz: Be very suspicious of Sammamish ‘hate’ incident

Tarul Kode Tripathi says she was the victim of a hate crime that occurred during a road rage incident. (KIRO 7)

A Sammamish pharmacist says she was the recent victim of a “hate” incident during an act of road rage and that Sammamish police officers dismissed her concerns. We ought to be very, very suspicious of this story.

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Per multiple reports, Tarul Kode Tripathi was driving home from a youth basketball game with her two young sons when she seems to admit she almost caused an accident with a driver.

According to the Issaquah Reporter:

At a gas station along Front Street, she noticed a white male driver trying to pull out on to the road. Tripathi said she was late in noticing the man, but still attempted to allow him to pull out in front of her vehicle.

She claims at this moment, she had noticed the driver “was already in a state of rage” so she rolled down her window to tell the man, “Hey, could you please calm down? I’ve got two kids in the back.” She says the man then hurled obscenities at her and told her to “get out” before driving off.

As she continued home she encountered a pair of officers. According to the Issaquah Reporter, “she knew her encounter in Issaquah wasn’t likely a reportable crime, but she wanted to gauge the officers’ reaction to the incident.”

The report continues:

Tripathi said she was struck by how quickly one of the officers, who was a white female, tried to normalize the situation.
She said, “The important thing is not to personalize the situation. That could’ve happened to anyone. That could’ve happened to me,” Tripathi recalled. “That obviously did not sit well with me because I completely disagree with that. I don’t think it would’ve happened to her, had it been a white woman in the car with her kids in the back. I don’t think he would’ve reacted that way.

This is where you should be wary. She’s saying that she was harassed or targeted because she is not white. She told KIRO 7’s Alison Grande that she “would like to see more training and communication for police officers.”

I think Tripathi is looking for examples to further a narrative she already believes; in a way, it’s a form of confirmation bias. And I wonder if it’s a way to help her sister secure a council seat she’s running for.

Let me explain.

Tripathi apparently knew a reportable crime hadn’t been committed. So why did she want to gauge the officers’ reaction? As a social justice experiment? What was the reaction from the officers supposed to be if even Tripathi didn’t think it was a crime?

In fact, according to King County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Cindi West (per KIRO 7), Tripathi didn’t even tell the officers he told her to “get out.” Yet, Tripathi is mad that the officers didn’t react correctly to an incident she thinks was fueled by hate? She didn’t even file a police report. If all the officer heard from Tripathi was that she was yelled at by a driver, why would they assume she was targeted for being Indian American? And let’s not forget: she was in the way of this other driver. Screaming “get out” could easily mean to “get out of the way” instead of some demand she leave the country.

“I know what happened to me and I want to make sure that somebody doesn’t try to explain it in another way,” Tripathi told the Issaquah Reporter. “While our state is a blue state and we’re saying all the right things at a leadership level … it is not trickling down to the people we’re surrounded by. There’s a sense of discomfort when we bring up the topic of race and threats of intimidation because nobody wants to believe it’s in our communities.”

Tripathi is now working with activists to push the narrative that, in a post-Trump presidency, we’re experiencing some kind of unprecedented level of hate. One of the activists she’s asked for help is Minal Kode Ghassemieh, her sister, who recently penned a Letter to the Editor calling out Trump (and her Congressman, Dave Reichert) for “fueling the racist movement… that is quickly spreading in our communities.”

Ghassemieh is also running for Sammamish City Council. Looks like she has a great local story to fuel her campaign:

I believe that our city can and should be more proactive about building an environment of … inclusion and respect for all residents,” Ghassemieh stated in a press release released days after the incident with her sister. ‘With the surge in hate crimes and divisiveness across the country, now is our time to be a leader.’

I have no idea what the driver meant when he said “get out” or if he said those words at all. I even think Tripathi feels she’s the victim of some kind of hate incident. But, the facts of the case and how she’s presenting them, along with her ties to a candidate for office fueling her campaign on fighting against hate, makes me think this is her telling herself she’s more of a victim of hate than a victim of road rage.

When I asked Tripathi if it was possible she incorrectly perceived the incident, she told me via Facebook: “Seems like you are looking for a reason for my perception of the incident to not be believed. This is called gas lighting. I would suggest you look up this term if you are unfamiliar.”

Be wary of this story and any conclusions you come to.

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