The term “hate crime” tends to conjure up images of the Ku Klux Klan, or the horrific wholesale murder of Jews in the Holocaust during WWll. But the reality is that hate crimes cover a much wider net than the traditional assaults on American Americans and Blacks and Jews. In fact, hate crimes can be committed against anyone. What defines the crime specifically as a hate crime isn’t the person it happens to, or the crime itself, it’s the motivation of the person committing the crime.
Hate crimes are believed to be driven by hatred.
By definition, a “hate crime” is a crime that someone commits against another person, or their property, because they find them (or their ethnicity, culture, religion, or lifestyle) to be hateful in some way. Hate crimes are most commonly committed against:
- People of a specific ethnic origin, such as Indian people
- People with a specific skin color or racial background, like African Americans or Latinos
- People whose lifestyles are considered to be “abnormal”, like LGBTQ people
- People of a specific religion, like Muslims
- People of a specific gender, like women
- People whose diverse ethnic or racial origins make them “different”, like immigrants and refugees
A hate crime could include a number of different criminal acts, but the most common are:
Ethnic Intimidation in Michigan is classified as a hate crime
Michigan doesn’t have a specific law governing “hate crimes” in general, but there is a law on the books called “Ethnic Intimidation“. This is where a person maliciously and specifically harasses or intimidates another person because of their color, race, gender, religion, or national origin. Ethnic Intimidation under Michigan law includes:
- Having any kind of physical contact with the victim
- Intentionally destroying or defacing the victim’s property
- Threatening to harm someone or damage their property
The FBI says hate crimes are on the rise in Michigan!
The FBI collects hate crime data from law enforcement agencies in every state, and according to recently released stats, Michigan has seen a rise in hate-related crimes over the last three years. In 2017, 57 more hate crimes were reported than in 2016, and in 2018 the number rose again. Although there’s no information provided to explain this spike in Michigan-based hate crimes, the data shows that it’s happening all over the country. In fact, FBI stats show a nearly 23% increase in religion-based hate crimes last year, and a 37% spike in anti-semitic hate crimes.
Assuming motives can complicate an investigation.
Each person who commits a crime does so for their own private reasons. Sometimes those reasons are simple and straightforward, sometimes they are complex and convoluted. Either way, Ethnic Intimidation is a felony in Michigan, so being charged with a hate crime is very serious! There are also federal laws that prohibit hate crimes. People accused of hate crimes in Michigan need help from defense attorneys with experience handling these types of cases. That’s why, if you’re ever accused of a hate crime anywhere in Michigan’s lower peninsula, you should call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) and make sure you’re being defended by the experts.