hate crimes

MGN Online

Florida lawmakers in both chambers are looking to revive legislation to expand the state’s definition of a hate crime to include first responders.

MGN Online

Members of the law enforcement community are weighing in on a so-called “Blue Lives Matter Act” that may be filed in the 2017 legislative session. The proposal would expand Florida’s definition of a hate crime to include law enforcement officers and firefighters—similar to a bill filed last year.

David Shankbone via Creative Commons

A hate crime report compiled by the Florida Attorney General’s office shows a 22 percent statewide increase in hate crimes in one year. But hate crime experts say such reports are severely flawed because most offenses go unreported or unprosecuted.

In the summer of 2012, a white Port St. Joe man shot one of his black neighbors in the head. The Gulf County Sherriff’s report says Walton Butler left the man bleeding while he finished his dinner. When Butler was arrested, he told police he didn’t see what the big deal was because he “only shot a [racial slur].”