California Hate Crimes on the Rise
History would attest that America is a land of immigrants, but why is it that the nation is more divided now than ever? A country that has once prided itself of its own cultural and ethnic diversity is now fighting a war against something far worse than its enemies outside its borders. For what could be worse than fighting a battle against your own?
Hate crimes in the country are mainly triggered by prejudice and hatred against a certain gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or belief. When people turn their prejudice, hatred, and tainted ideals into violent actions, these become hate crimes. It may be surprising to some that the US, a country of immigrants, would still have crimes of this nature. In fact, reports show that hate crimes in several major US cities have been spiking up at an unsettling rate in the last few years. In particular, the state of California has had one of the highest increase in hate crimes in the country.
According to the California Department of Justice, hate crime related activities went up by 11.2% from 2015 to 2016. Moreover, state statistics show that majority of the hate crimes from 2007-2016 are motivated by racial biases, taking 57 percent of all hate crimes during that period. This is followed by sexual orientation bias with 22.5 percent and religious bias with 17.9 percent. These alarming statistics translate to real life, and recent events in the country prove just how real these numbers are.
In August of this year, Alberto Campos, a Latino man, was sentenced to three years in prison after he had beat up Kevin Raspberry, a black man, who he thought was hitting on his girlfriend. The defendant was also accused of yelling at Raspberry and calling him the “N-word”. San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer Victoria Ramirez addressed the court, saying that the defendant was remorseful for his actions and only thought that he was defending his girlfriend. “That is the day I will regret for the rest of my life,” said Campos. Raspberry was not present the day Campos was sentenced to jail.
In October 2017, an attack took place at a restaurant on University Avenue against a Somali Man who was knocked down by Sean Arevalo and his friends Terrance Crow Jr. and Scott Peretti. The men were reported to have yelled inside the restaurant proclaiming their patriotism and condemning Muslims. They went on to barrate two Muslim women, and attacked the Somali Man. The men convicted of the hate crime were were brought in at San Diego Superior Court this October 2017 wherein Crow Jr. was sentenced to 120 days in jail.
More recently, two men, Samuel Wickwire and Wade Rutledge, were charged for allegedly terrorizing and spitting on a gay couple in a beach parking lot in Orange County. The pair threatened them with violence if the gay couple did not leave the premises. As the couple were getting in their car, Rutledge pushed one of the victims in the car and slammed the door on the victim’s hand. Both men were arrested in December, and currently face a maximum of six to seven years in prison.
These hate crimes are just a few of the many offenses done in California. Learning about the different accounts of hate crime victims in the country is both surprising and disheartening. People guilty of hate crimes are bullies that spread anger and terror, and this should not be tolerated. These people are pushing to further divide the country, and this is the last thing the country needs.