Prosecutor pushing lawmakers to pass hate crime laws

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 19, 2015)-- Indiana is among a handful of states that don't have hate crime laws. Marion county prosecutor Terry Curry discussed the need for such laws in the Hoosier state. It's an effort that has gone before state lawmakers and failed many times before.

From the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, to the school shooting in Oregon where the gunman asked students their religion before killing them, hate crimes have made headlines in a big way this year.

"A gay man who was being threatened by his neighbor because the fact he was gay. These are the instances we see from time to time and we think it's a timely subject," said Marion County Prosecutor, Terry Curry.

Curry says his office sees hate crimes cases often in our area. Those acts were the topic at the final Community Justice Academy meeting. Throughout the four week course residents learned how to be better citizens and what's their role in the community.

"Indiana is one of only five states that still do not have hate crimes legislation. And hate crimes cause unique harm to the community," said Miriam Zeidman of the Anti-Defamation League.

Lawmakers have been trying to get hate crime laws on the books for years and the bills are never heard or make it through the process to be voted on. Curry says it's time for Indiana to get with the times.

"We will vigorously prosecute anyone who commits a crime that is biased motivated with or without hate crime legislation. But we feel we should enact it in indiana to send the message we as a community do not accept that kind of behavior."

Groups from all backgrounds are coming together to encourage lawmakers to hear and pass hate crime legislation when lawmakers go back in session in January.

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