In what might be the first of its kind in Pierce County, a Tacoma police officer has been identified as the victim in a felony hate-crime case.
The decision to charge Mark Tolson, 55, with malicious harassment, the state’s hate crime, stems in part from the national atmosphere after the recent killings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.
“Protecting the public includes protecting our officers,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a statement. “The officer took the defendant’s threats seriously because of recent events and so do we.”
Lindquist said he can’t remember another local case in which a police officer was a victim of a hate crime.
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Police said Tolson made the threat while being booked after his arrest for domestic violence against an ex-girlfriend.
As police prepared to book Tolson into the Pierce County Jail, he told an officer the four Lakewood police officers who were gunned down in 2009 “got what they deserved.”
He also said that when he got out of jail he would make the officer “like them,” according to court records.
Tolson also told the officer, one of those who transported him from the scene to jail, he “was a racist white cop.”
Tolson was arrested July 16 after officers responded to a home in the 1600 block of East 60th Street to break up a reported domestic fight.
According to charging papers, Tolson took a taxi to his ex-girlfriend’s house.
Tolson slapped her when she opened the door, chased her into the house and kicked a hole in the bedroom door where she was trying to hide, according to charging papers.
By the time police arrived, Tolson and the former girlfriend both had fled.
Police spotted Tolson peering over the fence of a nearby housing complex and ordered him to get on the ground. He ran. Officers eventually caught up to him and took him into custody.
The officer who was threatened said in a police report that he took the threat seriously.
“Due to the recent and increasing national threats and attacks on police officers, I perceived this threat to be viable due to Tolson's violent criminal history and his clearly expressed racial hatred for myself and white police officers,” the officer wrote.
The News Tribune is not naming the officer because the newspaper does not generally name victims of crimes.
Tolson was charged Wednesday with felony harassment in the domestic violence incident and with malicious harassment for allegedly threatening the officer.
Bail was set at $80,000 after he pleaded not guilty to both counts.
Records show this is the first time he has been charged with a crime in Pierce County.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653