Civil rights activists, gays in particular, have redoubled efforts for an Indiana hate crimes law since the October murders of Eric Hendricks and Milton Lindgren, who had previously reported vandalism and the nailing of an anti-gay slur to their front door. Police are not calling the killings a hate crime because, they say, the man under arrest had mercenary motives. Advocates aren't buying that; especially since the earlier report of harassment wasn't logged as a hate crime either. Indeed, Sgt. Matthew Mount, spokesman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, says IMPD doesn't track hate crimes because the definition is "subjective" and the responsibility is federal.Marion Co. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has advocated at the State House for bias crimes legislation, which would allow evidence that a crime against a person or property was motivated by an offender's bias against the victim's race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or national origin to support an enhanced sentence for the crime. It is perplexing that he has stood by silently as IMPD undermines his own efforts by refusing to even acknowledge that such bias occurs in the commission of crimes. Even more perplexing has been the complete lack of outrage from civil rights group over IMPD's actions.
And yet, state law requires hate crime reporting. Just ask advocates how that's working out.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Someone Else Finally Notices
More than a year ago, I first reported that Indianapolis and Marion County had stopped compiling and reporting hate crime statistics for the FBI, which contributed to a decrease in the reported number of hate crimes in Indiana. Finally, someone in the mainstream media has taken notice. The Star's Dan Carpenter laments the lack of reporting in a column today about hate crimes in the wake of the apparent hate crime killing of an elderly Indianapolis gay couple, which IMPD refused to even consider a hate crime: