Tulsa resident Coby Dale Green threw a Molotov cocktail into a Brookside-area donut shop weeks after it hosted an art exhibit featuring drag performers as servers. Green pleaded guilty to malicious use of explosives and was ordered to serve five years in federal prison. His sentence included an enhancement for committing a hate crime. But the case didn’t fit the criteria to be prosecuted under state or federal hate crime laws, even though Green left anti-LGBTQ fliers at a neighboring business.
Here are five takeaways from the Frontier’s reporting on the lack of a required police training on working hate crime cases.
Read the full story here.
- Oklahoma’s hate crime law doesn’t include protections for gender or sexual orientation. And while the federal statute covers more protected classes, it only applies in specific situations.
- Since 2018, hate crimes based on sexual orientation have been reported to the FBI more often than crimes based on gender or gender identity. From 2015 to 2019, about 24% of crimes included in a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics self-reported survey were based on gender. But according to FBI data for that same time period, an average of about 2% of reported crimes nationwide were based on gender identity, and an average of about 0.6% were based on gender.
- The state can’t prosecute hate crime cases based on gender or sexual orientation, but local law enforcement still does much of the legwork of investigations, referring cases to federal prosecutors, and reporting incidents to the FBI.
- Oklahoma is one of 32 states without a requirement in statute that police complete training on investigating hate crimes and working with victims. Though some agencies reported offering hate crime-related training, the topics they covered were varied.
- The state Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training created training objectives that must be taught in every police academy across the state. But their civil rights standards don’t require officers to be taught about the federal statute that covers hate crimes based on gender and sexual orientation.