A recent attack on a gay couple on Miami Beach brought to light a very serious issue still occurring here in South Florida. Hate crimes are very much a part of the criminal justice system and have been on the rise since 2015.
What is a Hate Crime?
The State defines a hate crime as a crime that is committed against another person based on prejudices including someone’s race, age, religion, and/or sexual orientation. These crimes can range from an aggravated assault to intimidation or destruction of property. If someone is charged with a hate crime, they can expect to see upgraded charges and an increased penalty for the crime.
Miami Beach Attack
During pride week on Miami Beach, two men were brutally attacked by four others as they held hands near a bathroom. One of the victims bumped into one of the attackers, which caused the attackers to yell gay slurs in Spanish at the victims. The attackers then began to beat up the victims by punching them in the face, leaving them with multiple cuts and bruises on their faces and hands, and even knocking one of the victims out for a short time.
A witness to the crime chased after the attackers to ask them to stay and wait for police, but he was also beaten up by the attackers. The gay men who were a part of the attack claim that the men attacked them because of their sexual orientation. The State’s Hate Crime Unit is evaluating the crime to see if additional charges will be filed.
Hate Crime Statistics
According to a report filed by the Florida State Attorney’s office called, “Hate Crimes in Florida,” hate crimes have been on the rise since 2015, when 102 were reported, up from 73 in 2014. In 2015, 55.9% of these crimes were motivated by race or color, 20.6% by sexual orientation, and 17.6% by religion.
In 2016, the number of hate crimes reported rise by about 33% according to a report by the FBI, with Miami-Dade County having more than one-third of the state’s anti-gay attacks.
It is important to note with these statistics that they are voluntarily reported, and therefore the hate crime numbers may be much higher.
If you are arrested and accused of a crime of any kind, you should immediately contact an experienced defense attorney. Your attorney can help you understand the charges against you and help you develop your defense.
Sayre, W. (n.d.). Hate Crimes On The Rise In Florida. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from http://wlrn.org/post/hate-crimes-rise-florida
Neal, D. J. (n.d.). Suspects in attack after gay pride parade could be charged with hate crime, cops say. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article208474394.html
Iannelli, J. (2018, March 13). Hate Crimes in Florida Jumped 33 Percent in 2016, Hitting Four-Year High. Retrieved April 12, 2018, from http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/florida-hate-crimes-in-2016-jump-33-percent-983068
Florida cities fail to report hate crimes. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2018, from http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article165124207.html