Recent history-changing events such as the murder of George Perry Floyd, Jr. have underscored the importance of protection for all who call the United States home. And in Minnesota, these events are pushing forth new initiatives such as the Hate Crimes Bill moving through the house at the writing of this post.
In 2020, hate crimes reached their highest level in a decade. How does Minnesota define a hate crime? Let’s dive in further.
What Is a Hate Crime?
A hate crime is a crime that’s committed and motivated by prejudice on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other grounds. These crimes may include verbal abuse, harassment and homicide.
In the US, federal law dictates that the term “hate” simply means bias, not necessarily rage or anger. And in Minnesota, crimes motivated by bias can result in enhanced consequences.
Hate Crimes in Minnesota
Minnesota doesn’t currently have a specific hate crime law. However, punishment for crimes committed due to race, religion, gender or sexual orientation can be escalated.
Crimes—such as assault, defamation and harassment—committed based on a bias that result in misdemeanors can be enhanced to gross misdemeanors. And gross misdemeanors can be increased to felonies, depending on the severity of the crime.
The Importance of Reporting a Hate Crime
Hate crimes not only affect the victim, but they also affect their families, friends and communities. Many hate crimes go unreported, which results in victims suffering without support and perpetrators running free. This is why reporting hate crimes is critical in the fight against them.
How to Report a Hate Crime
If you’ve been a victim of a hate crime, call 911 immediately. Or, if the situation is over and you wish to report, call your local police department’s main office number. Make sure to give them all of the information you have for a proper report. You’ll want to discuss:
- Your name, address and phone number
- Location of the incident
- What happened during the incident
If you witnessed a hate crime, you can also report the incident to your local authorities. You can also report the hate crime to the FBI.
Are You a Victim of a Hate Crime in Minnesota?
If you are a victim of a hate crime, the attorneys at White & Associates are here to support you. Although the process may feel overwhelming, we’re here to fight for your rights, so you can focus on healing. To learn more about hate crimes or to speak with an attorney, give us a call at 763-241-0477 or send us a message today.