There has been increasing concern over the number of possible hate crimes taking place in the East Bay. People are reportedly being targeted based on their race, religion, nationality, or gender. A local District Attorney's office has set up a new hate crime hotline to deal with the rising number of reported hate crimes.
The Alameda County District Attorney's office has set up a new phone hotline for reporting hate crimes. The number allows individuals to report hate-related crimes in six languages, with messages in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Farsi. According to DA Nancy E. O'Malley's office, the hotline was developed to deal with the recent increase in reported hate crimes.
“The DA's Office will treat every individual in this county with the care, respect and dignity that each of us deserves and expects,” said a press release from the DA's office. “The current aggressive nature of hate speech and conduct has heightened the moral imperative to stand up for what is right. My office will be a leader in the fight against hate-based crimes and hateful rhetoric that targets any person or group of people.”
Residents in Piedmont turned out to a city council meeting over two recent incidents involving possible hate crimes. Racial slurs were written in chalk along a stretch of Linda Avenue, and a pig's head was left on a resident's doorstep. The chalk writing has since been removed. The police chief said the pig's head incident was a prank gone wrong, and was intended for someone who no longer lived at the residence.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, between November 9th and 16th, California had 80 reported hate crimes and racist incidents, more than any other state. Racist graffiti was found in a Danville high school bathroom, labeling urinals “whites” and “colored.” Other racist graffiti was reported in a school bus in San Ramon. California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has voiced concern over a rise in racism and hate crimes in California schools. Newsom has called for schools to establish zero-tolerance policies for hate in schools and to report any hate incidents.
A hate crime can be a separate criminal charge in California. Under California Penal Code 422.6, it is a crime to intimidate, injure, or threaten any other person in their free exercise or enjoyment of any constitutional right or privilege because of their race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. A hate crime can also be considered as an enhancement to an assault charge. Penalties can include a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, and up to 400 hours of community service.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people facing criminal charges in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands the local criminal laws, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve. Contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.