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U.S. experiences spike in hate crimes

The FBI noted a significant spike in hate crime activity against Muslim Americans, 67 percent over last year and a six percent increase for all groups, in the days following the election. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that it received more than 700 allegations of harassment and potential hate crimes in the handful of days after the election.

In response, New York State is forming a new police unit to combat hate crimes. Furthermore, numerous non-profit organizations wealthy philanthropists are pledging millions, including a $10 million pledge from George Soros, to combat hate crimes. Furthermore, the non-profit group, Open Society Foundations, is planning to donate at least $5 million to fund grants that support civil rights organizations and community groups to develop plans to combat hate crimes.

Hate crimes are a subset of criminal charges. Hate crimes are usually additions to a standard crime, such as assault, that automatically imposes enhanced prison terms and other penalties. Hate crimes are established when the accused allegedly commits the crime due to racist, sexist or other unlawful intentions. Essentially, hate crimes punish people for taking criminal action based on their prejudices.

As illustrated above, law enforcement is on the watch for hate crimes. If you are charged with a hate crime, you may want to speak with an attorney. Hate crime allegations significantly increase the penalties for any felony. A lawyer can help you begin mounting a defense. Hate crimes are serious and can have severe repercussions on your life; you don't want to wait.

Source: New York Times, "George Soros Pledges $10 Million to Fight Hate Crimes," Eric Lichtbau, November 22nd, 2016

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