In the nearby state of Washington, a 32 year old white supremacist named David Rowe was apparently enraged at the at the sight of a black man and a white woman kissing at a bar in Olympia. Police say Mr. Rowe was recently released from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, about 300 miles away. He was convicted in 208 for second-degree robbery. It is reported that he may be amongst the state’s homeless, who flock to Olympia for help on their way to Portland or Seattle.
Police report that he had been watching the couple, and walked up to them and without warning, yelled a racial slur and lunged at them with his knife. According to a press release from the Olympia police department, the knife went into the man’s hip, and grazed the woman. The male victim, 47, ended up chasing Rowe and knocking him unconscious on the ground when he tried to run away. After being arrested he was reported to rant about Donald Trump rallies.
Rowe was arrested and booked into the Thurston County Jail on two charges of first-degree assault and possible malicious harassment, which is the charge for hate crime in Washington state. The FBI reported 5,479 hate crimes across the United States in 2014, a 14.6% decrease from 2013.
Felony Hate Crimes
In California, if you commit a crime and a substantial factor in your motive for the criminal act was a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, skin color, disability, or national origin, it is considered a hate crime. See CA Penal Code § 422.55. The statute also perceived characteristics, so you could perceive someone as LGBT for example, be wrong, and still be convicted if you were motivated by that perception. Not only are hate crimes prosecuted aggressively in California, but you could also be sued in the civil courts for damages.
In California, if you kill someone based on your perception of the victim’s race, religion, nationality, or orientation, that is a felony hate crime that would be considered a special circumstance. You will face the death penalty or life without parole. See CA Penal Code § 190.2(a)(16). Other felony hate crimes in California include vandalizing a place of worship and using a firearm to commit the felony hate crime (which is an aggravating factor).
San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney
It can be common these days for people to get wrongly accused of hate crimes, especially in our tense political environment. All it takes is for you to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, just to become a suspect. If you have been wrongfully accused of a hate crime, contact the Law Offices of David M. Boertje today. This is a matter that needs to be immediately addressed by a skilled attorney. At the Law Offices of David M. Boertje, we will fight for you.