Harsher penalties for bias crimes

asma-jama-gofundme-attackMinnesota lawmakers recently passed a bill to increase the penalty of crimes committed for bias reasons. The problem was brought to light by a case in October, when Asma Jama, a Muslim women was attacked. While dining in a Coon Rapids Applebee’s, Jama was struck across the face with a beer bottle, for speaking Swahili. Jama received deep cuts to her right eyebrow, nose, and lower lip, needing a total of 15 stitches. Jama was attacked by Jodie Burchard-Risch, a 43 year old Ramsey Resident.

Third-degree assault charges are classified under felony with up to 5 years of imprisonment, whereas a hate crime would be classified under a misdemeanor, which has a far less harsher punishment. Burchard-Risch was charged with third-degree assault by the Anoka County District Court. Members of the Minnesota Council on Islamic-American Relations were pushing for Burchard-Risch to be charged with a hate crime. However, the Members of the Minnesota Council on Islamic-American Relations were not only pushing for a hate crime, but they also wanted the severity of hate crime punishments to increase.

Increasing the penalty on bias crimes in Minnesota should help to lower levels of hate crimes. By not allowing hate crimes to fly under the radar like as third-degree assaults, and charging the attackers with felonies instead of misdemeanors, Minnesota is not only making an effective step to stopping hate crimes, but is also showing where it stands when it comes to discrimination.

For more information: http://bringmethenews.com/2016/03/19/proposed-bill-would-see-harsher-penalties-for-crimes-motivated-by-bias/

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