West Jordan council: Utah needs tougher hate crime law

WEST JORDAN, Utah (ABC 4 News) - On Wednesday night, West Jordan City Council approved a resolution that encourages a new hate crime law for the state of Utah.

The city council voted 5-2 to adopt a resolution that would help police and prosecutors deal with hate crimes in Utah.

Council member DIck Burton supported the resolution.

“We want to be a leader with the state of Utah to show that we’re in favor of showing fairness across the board,” said Burton.

West Jordan, officials say, is the first city in Utah to pass such an resolution.

That resolution reads, in part: "...expressing support for legislation during the 2018 Session, providing law enforcement stronger tools to address crime that deliberately targets a victim because of race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, or disability.”

State Senator Daniel Thatcher is hoping to pass a bill in 2018 that would change Utah’s hate crime law.

“I am proud of West Jordan for being willing to be the first city to step up and say that these types of crimes are not tolerated,” said Thatcher before the council Wednesday night.

Equality Utah supports the resolution, too.

“When someone is targeted because of their race, because of their faith, because of who they are or who they love, this resolution says, really, as a community, we’re not going to stand for this,” said Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah.

“Twenty years ago, the legislature passed a hate crime law, a statute, but it’s been largely unenforceable in the state,” said Williams.

“Over the past 20 years, there have been zero prosecutions for hate-focused violence,” he added.

“We’re hoping that this resolution in West Jordan will be the impetus to put the pressure on the legislature to take statewide action.”

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