Indiana lawmakers react to Charlottesville attack, push for state hate crime law renewed

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –Indiana lawmakers are responding to the horrific attack in Charlottesville, in which one person was killed and 19 others were injured when a car plowed into a crowd on Saturday.

The crowd was counter-protesting a group of white-nationalists and other far-right groups who were on the University of Virginia campus for the "Unite the Right" rally. The purpose of the rally was to protest Charlottesville’s decision to remove relics of its Confederate past, such as a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Additionally, two Virginia State Police troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed as they patrolled near the site of clashes.

The attack is raising concerns about state laws here in Indiana. Officials with the Fair Housing Center say Indiana needs stronger protections against hate crimes.

"There have been previous incidents occurring across the country, including in our own state," Amy Nelson said, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. "This is not an isolated incident. It's just a very public one."

Indiana is one of only five states that does not have a "hate crimes protection law." The group previously lobbied to get state leaders to pass a law, but those efforts failed.

"We'll look at this as the upcoming session begins," Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday afternoon while calling the violence "sickening."

"There's nothing supreme about those white supremacists other than their stupidity," he said.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said current state law allows judges to increase sentences for hate-related crimes, adding it may be time to clarify the language in state law.

"I think it's time to label now what we have as hate crime legislation to dispel really the misconception that cannot be considered by a judge in sentencing because it can be," he said.

Vice President Mike Pence

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett

U.S. Senator Todd young

U.S. Rep. Jim Banks

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg‏

U.S. Rep. Luke Messer

U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks

Attorney General Curtis Hill

U.S. Rep. Trey Hollingsworth