Protest fills a street in WA State

Cover photo by Mac Smiff

Spokane, Washington’s Lesley Haskell recently called Black MSNBC host Joy Reid the n-word on social media. This was after Reid said Republicans would trade tax cuts for the ability to say the n-word, if they could. (You can check out a collection of Haskell’s social media posts here.)

Lesley also declared herself a proud “white nationalist (NOT supremacist), Patriotice [sic], Constitution-loving, American.” Her other posts include a photo of her posing with Proud Boys throwing up white supremacist signs.

Haskell was using Gab (where she is verified), a social media platform that, “has quickly become a pit of misogyny, antisemitism, and White nationalism,” according to the Inlander newspaper, which published a profile of the Lesley Haskell saga.

So why do we care?

Lesley’s husband is the county prosecutor for Spokane County, Washington and locks up Black people at an alarmingly disproportionate rate.

“My husband is the Spo Co Prosecutor and he’s the last line of conservative armor that the County has,” Lesley wrote on Gab.

Under her husband Larry Haskell, in 2019, Black people were 13 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites and Native Americans were 6.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites, according to a Spokane Community Against Racism analysis of data from the research group JFA Associates.

“The data is conclusive: His office is using that tremendous power to quietly perpetuate the systems of oppression that Lesley loudly advocates,” wrote Range, a Northwest podcast and newsletter, which published jail and prosecution data and helped break the story.

Larry Haskell told the Inlander that, “The Inlander recently made me aware of social media comments attributed to my wife, which the Inlander finds concerning. In a right shared by everyone, I fully recognize my wife’s right to express her thoughts….In a previous discussion regarding my wife’s social media postings, I stated such were hers, and hers alone. I acknowledged that she is a strong-willed person who will speak her mind. I do so again in this instance.”