MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —This week, a teenager confessed to police to drawing a swastika at Concord Elementary in Edina.
They weren’t criminally charged because the chalk graffiti didn’t cause permanent damage to the school.
“It’s very difficult to prosecute that because there is a loophole with property,” said DFL State Representative Frank Hornstein.
That’s why Rep. Hornstein believes new legislation is needed.
“The damage isn’t to the property. The damage is to the community,” said Rep. Hornstein.
He was inspired to work towards change after several recent bias crimes in the area, like when store windows of East African-owned businesses on Franklin Avenue were smashed in September.
“We will be working with community groups, with law enforcement, with other stakeholders, to make sure that we can update these laws,” said Rep. Hornstein.
He will also be pushing for new police training on how to recognize, respond and report hate crimes.
“The LGBTQ community, the immigrant community, Muslims, Jews, people of color, indigenous people, people with disabilities, there’s gender-based hate crimes — so really, there’s very few people that are unaffected by this,” said Rep. Hornstein.
He hopes the issue will receive support from both sides of the aisle.
“Standing up to hate should not be a partisan issue,” said Hornstein.
He believes the bill will be ready to be introduced by the start of the legislative session next year.
In recent weeks, Attorney General Keith Ellison has been hosting listening sessions on hate crimes across the state.
The next is scheduled for Dec. 3 in Rochester.