‘Trib Talk’: Utah’s 20-year-old hate crimes law has never been successfully prosecuted

(Photo courtesy of Veronica Lopez) Pictured is Luis Gustavo Lopez, 18, who was attacked at Lopez Tires on Tuesday, November 27, 2018.

“I’m here to kill a Mexican" — That, and other racist language, is what a man allegedly screamed before beating a tire shop owner and his 18-year-old son with a metal bar last week.

A suspect was ultimately apprehended and charged with aggravated assault and other drug and weapons-related crimes. But the charges do not include a hate crime enhancement, despite the crime appearing to be racially motivated, adding to frustrations around a state law that some prosecutors and legislators say is effectively unenforceable.

On this week’s episode of “Trib Talk,” Tribune reporter Courtney Tanner and state Sen. Dan Thatcher, R-West Valley City, join Benjamin Wood to discuss proposed updates to the state’s hate crime statute.

“Trib Talk” is produced by Sara Weber with additional editing by Dan Harrie. Comments and feedback can be sent to tribtalk@sltrib.com, or to @bjaminwood or @tribtalk on Twitter.

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