Last week Alan Dale Covington, entered Lopez Tires in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the intention to “kill Mexicans” he has beaten up the shop’s owner and his teenage son with a metal pole severely to the point that the younger man was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, the authorities said. the suspect was quickly caught, but under Utah law, he cannot be charged with a hate crime.
The attack on the two latinos men has drawn attention to the hate crimes law on the books in Utah, which has long frustrated law enforcement officials because it can be applied only to misdemeanors, not felony crimes like murder or serious assault, rendering it largely ineffective.
Sim Gill, the district attorney for Salt Lake County said: “The statute that we have is such an untenable and unworkable statute that we have not had a successful prosecution of a hate crime for the last 20 years at the state level,” he added: “It is worthless. It is not worth the paper it is written on.”
Mr. Lopez, who suffered a laceration to his arm in the attack said that the man walked into his family’s business on Nov. 27 and “said he wanted to kill Mexican guys.” adding that he doesn't know why he suffered such fate as he has no problem with anybody.
police arrived at the scene where they found Mr. Lopez's son bleeding profusely from his face and “gurgling and coughing on his own blood,” the charging documents said. He was taken to a hospital, where a tube was inserted to assist with his breathing and was released Friday, his father said.
the violent assault upon Mr. Lopez and his son cannot be categorized as a hate crime according to Utah's law.