Crimes against Latinos not considered "hate crimes" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Crimes against Latinos not considered "hate crimes"

Yellow crime scene tape and flashing blue lights have become a common sight in many Latino neighborhoods in Memphis.

"The Latino community are very upset against these crimes," said Tina Baldwin, editor of the Spanish language newspaper La Prensa Latina, "and they feel pretty threatened by them."

She says it is clear Latinos are being targeted, and feel threatened by criminals. According to Baldwin, the community does not think they are hate crimes. They feel it is all about cash.

"They don't have access to services because many of them are undocumented," she said. "They keep their money at home until they can mail it back to their country, and criminals know this very well."

Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons says a "hate crime" occurs when a person is targeted because of his or her race or beliefs.

"Hispanics have to some degree have been targeted in this community but it's not because they are Hispanics in and of themselves," he said. "Therefore, I really would not categorize it has a hate crime."

Gibbons says even if all the aggravated robberies against Latinos could be considered hate crimes, his office would rather go after the aggravated robbery charge. That charge carries much more prison time.

Gibbons says his office, and the police department, are working very hard to catch the criminals and change the habits of some Latinos, so they won't be become victims.

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