Hate crime

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A hate crime (also known as a bias-motivated crime or bias crime) is a prejudice-motivated crime which occurs when a perpetrator targets a victim because of their membership (or perceived membership) in a certain social group or race. Examples of such groups can include, and are almost exclusively limited to: sex, ethnicity, disability, language, nationality, physical appearance, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation. Non-criminal actions that are motivated by these reasons are often called "bias incidents".

Hate crimes are often committed by aptly named hate groups.

Types of hate crimes

Examples of hate crimes that have been committed

  • On October 12, 1998, American homosexual student Matthew Wayne Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, and left to die in a field on the outskirts of Laramie, Colorado. The perpetrators of this crime, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, admitted that they committed the crime because Shepard was homosexual. The crime would later be dramatized in the stage play The Laramie Project.
  • A offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan calling themselves the Knights of Mary Phagan kidnapped and lynched a Jew named Leo Frank on October 16, 1915 in an event that began the KKK's tradition of cross burning.
    • Also, the KKK have committed numerous hate crimes in general during their entire existence.
  • On June 17, 1998, three white supremacists - Lawrence Russell Brewer, John William King, and Shawn Allen Berry - kidnapped a 49-year old African-American man named James Byrd, Jr., took him to a remote county road out of town, beat him severely, spray-painted his face, urinated and defecated on him. They then chained him by his ankles to the back of their pickup truck and dragged him along an asphalt road for about three miles. Byrd was conscious for most of the ordeal, until he was finally killed when body hit a culvert, severing his head and right arm.
  • The torture and murder of Jennifer Daughtery, a mentally disabled woman, could be considered a hate crime against the disabled; the perpetrators of the crime, known as The Greensburg Six, never made a specific motive for their actions clear.
  • On June 17, 2015. white supremacist Dylann Roof committed a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, killing 9 people (all African-Americans) with his ultimate goal being to start a race war. Roof later became the first (and as of May 2019) only individual who was given the death penalty for committing a hate crime.
  • On October 27, 2018, white nationalist Robert Bowers committed a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburge, Pennsylvania, killing eleven people in the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the history of the United States.
  • Brenton Tarrant, an Australian white supremacist and a member of the Alt-Right movement, committed a mass shooting at two separate mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, 2019, in an Islamophobic attack against the Muslim community in Christchurch.
  • A 14-year old African-American boy named Emmett Till was kidnapped, brutally beaten, tortured, and murdered by Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, for allegedly flirting with Bryant's wife Carolyn (though this would later be revealed to be a lie.)
  • An unusual example involves American actor Jussie Smollett, who claimed that he had been brutally attacked by two men wearing ski masks in the early morning hours of January 29, 2019. Smollett claimed that the men said racial and homophobic slurs to him and tried to put a noose around his neck. However, an investigation later revealed that the whole incident was staged and Smollett arranged the whole thing as a publicity stunt.
  • A series of unsolved serial murders against gay men in Paturis Park, Brazil, are considered to be a hate crime. A total of 13 men were murdered in the area from February 2007 and August 2008. The killer responsible, dubbed the "Rainbow Maniac", has yet to be apprehended.
  • The murder of eighteen-year-old Nia Wilson by John Lee Cowell is considered to be a hate crime.
  • English Defence League supporter Darren Osbourne drove a van through a crowd of Muslims outside Finsbury Park Mosque in 2017, killing one, a man named Makram Ali, who collapsed in front of the van while trying to escape due to a medical condition. Osbourne's motive for the attack was reportedly hatred and fear of Muslims.
  • In April 1999, a man named David Copeland detonated several nail bombs in London in order to kill Muslims, immigrants, Jews and gay people, which he hoped would start a race war and ultimately result in the BNP winning the UK elections.
  • On 29th January 2017, Alexandre Bissonnette entered the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec and began firing at the Muslim worshippers, killing six and injuring nineteen.
  • Mass shootings of police officers committed by Black Supremacists such as those committed by Gavin Eugene Long, Micah Xavier Johnson and Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley can to some extent be considered hate crimes.
  • The murder of gay Jewish teenager Blaze Bernstein by Samuel Woodward, a member of the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, was declared a hate crime by authorities.
  • In 2017, a mentally disabled white youth was kidnapped and tortured by Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper and Brittany and Tanishia Covington, who shouted "Fuck white people!" at him, forced him to drink out of a toilet and removed part of his scalp with a knife.
  • The 1991 mass shooting perpetrated at a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas by former merchant marine George Hennard is considered a hate crime against women, as Hennard was a well-known misogynyst and most of the victims were women.
  • Every crime committed by serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin can be considered hate crimes, as he was a known white supremacist and all his murders were racially motivated.
  • Brothers Benjamin and James Williams killed a gay couple, Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder, in a homophobic hate crime. The brothers also burned down a synagogue in another, anti-semitic hate crime.
  • On 22 April 1993, a black youth named Stephen Lawrence was stabbed to death in London by five or six white youths. In 2012, two of the perpetrators, Gary Dobson and David Norris, were sentenced to life in prison.
  • The Atlanta spa shootings that took place on March 16, 2021, in which a man named Robert Aaron Long killed 8 people (six of whom where Asian women) has been described as a hate crime against Asians by some, as hate crimes against Asians have increased dramatically in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The gunman himself has denied this, but it is unclear how much credibility he has.