HomeCrimeMinnesota moves to make it easier to report racist attacks

Minnesota moves to make it easier to report racist attacks

A Hmong American state legislator in Minnesota is moving to make it easier for the state to capture incidents of racial bias.

It’s been well documented that proving a hate crime can be difficult, making the filing of such charges difficult.

Rep. Samantha Vang wants to set up a system to collect data of racially bias incidents that don’t fall under strict hate crime laws.’

“As an Asian American woman, this is also personal,” Vang said to the Minnesota Post. “During the pandemic, with the rhetoric being used to blame Asian Americans for the coronavirus, not just me but the Asian American community felt unsafe for the first time in a long time.”

Minnesota Public Radio says reports of hate crimes are on the rise in the state. Prosecutors can request harsher sentences for crimes based on the victim’s race, gender, religion or sexual orientation. The law has been in existence since 2016, but prosecutors have only pursued such penalties two dozen times statewide since then.

RELATED: In Pictures: #Stop Asian Hate# Rally At Minnesota State Capitol

“The requirement for law enforcement to report a bias-related crime is quite different than proving that beyond a reasonable doubt in court,” said Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall.

Vang’s goal is to improve the gathering of racial incidents whether they can be elevated to a hate crime or not.

Rebecca Lucero, the commissioner of the state Department of Human Rights, agrees.

“But for many incidents that occur that may not be criminal, there is no coordinated, consistent tracking, reporting, analysis and recommendations for next steps.” Lucero said. “Even if it is a crime, the police are not getting called, there will not be an investigation or a citation, so it will never be documented or tracked. No one will ever know about it except that person and community members who feel the residual effect.”

Crimes covered by hate crime laws increased to 238 in 2021, a sharp increase from 146 in 2019.

The numbers are believed to be much higher as many crimes go unreported.

“We hear these cases all the time,” Jaylani Hussein said of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “Many of our community members talk about being driven off the road, being assaulted, spat at and for their own safety decided not to bring this case forward.”

AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Follow us on FacebookX, InstagramTikTok and YouTube. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to produce diverse content about the AAPI communities. We are supported in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.


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