Hate Speech Outside West Lafayette Church Prompts Talk Of Bias Crime Bill

Jan 23, 2018

Credit Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

West Lafayette representatives are condemning hate speech posted at a local church over the weekend.

Racial slurs and threatening language were displayed on posters tacked outside of the Unitarian Universalist Church.

Rep. Sheila Klinker (D-Lafayette) says she’s shocked and concerned, especially since the incident happened at night.

“They are doing this behind everyone’s back and will not admit that they’re doing it because they know most of the people in our area do not agree with this and certainly are not on their side,” Klinker says.

Indiana is one of five states without a bias crimes law. A Senate bill introduced this year would make harming or intimidating a person -- based on perceived or actual characteristics – worsen a crime’s punishment.

Rep. Sally Siegrist (R-West Lafayette) supports the bill, but says she doesn’t think a new law would intimidate what she calls the “lunatic fringe.”

“The hope is that if we can catch them, we can keep them from doing these things again,” Siegrist says. “It’s impossible to legislate morality or sanity.”

The bill would also require law enforcement to notify the FBI of bias-motivated crimes – an action the West Lafayette Police have already taken.