Hate Crimes

Hate Crimes in California

In California, you are considered a victim of a hate crime if you have been targeted because of your “real” or “perceived” race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability. People belonging to these groups are referred to as “protected classes.” All people are members of a protected class.

Hate Crimes versus Hate Incidents

hate incident is an action or behavior that is motivated by hate, but is protected by the First Amendment Right to freedom of expression. Examples of hate incidents can include: name calling, epithets, distribution of hate material in public places, and the display of offensive hate-motivated material on one’s own property.

The freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. constitution, such as the freedom of speech, allow hateful rhetoric as long as it does not interfere with the civil rights of others. If this type of behavior escalates to threats or criminal activity against a person or property, then it would be classified as a hate crime.

hate crime is a criminal act, or attempted criminal act committed against a person or his or her property because the person is, or is perceived to be, a member of a protected class.

Hate crimes should be reported to the CSU, Chico Police Department.

If these hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement, the perpetrators will continue to act on their beliefs and continue to pose a threat to society.

What Kinds of Acts are Forbidden by Law?

  • Verbal or written threats 
  • Physical assault or attempted assault
  • Vandalism or property damage, including graffiti

The following are indicators that a hate crime may have been committed:

  • Perception by the victim that he/she was selected by the perpetrator because of his/her membership in a protected class.
  • Written or oral comments by the perpetrator that may indicate a bias.
  • Date of incident coincides with a day that is of significance to the victim’s protected class.
  • Differences between the race or religion, for example, of the victim and the perpetrator.
  • Organized hate group activity in the area.
Persons who commit these types of acts can be held criminally and/or civilly responsible. Civil remedies are available even if criminal violations cannot be proven.

Your Rights

  • You have certain rights under the California Constitution’s Victims' Bill of Rights. For example, you may be entitled to information about the prosecution of the perpetrator, and you may have the right to present a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing.
  • You may be entitled to restitution for any loss, damage, or injury that you incurred.
  • You are also protected under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act. Under these acts, you could receive up to $25,000 in punitive and compensatory damages in civil court.
  • Persons who commit these types of acts can be held criminally and/or civilly responsible. Civil remedies are available even if criminal violations cannot be proven.

What Laws Apply?

The following is a list of California Penal Code statutes relating to hate crimes:

  • Penal Code Section 190.2(a)(16): Allows the death penalty for murder based on the victim’s race, color, religion, nationality, or national origin.
  • Penal Code Section 302: Provides it is a misdemeanor to willfully disturb a group of people meeting to worship.
  • Penal Code Section 422.6(a): Provides it is a misdemeanor to interfere by force or threat of force with a person’s statutory or constitutional rights because of that person’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Penal Code Section 422.6(b): Provides it is a misdemeanor to damage a person’s property because of his or her race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, disability, or sexual orientation.
  • Penal Code Section 422.7: Provides that actions which are normally misdemeanors can be treated as felonies if committed because of bigotry.
  • Penal Code Section 594.3: Provides it is a felony to knowingly vandalize a place of worship.
  • Penal Code Section 1170.8: Provides additional punishment for robbery or assault of persons , or arson, within a place of worship.
  • Penal Code Section 1170.85(b): Provides additional punishment for felonies committed against the aged or disabled.

Services Available to Hate Crime Victims

  • You have certain rights under the California Constitution’s Victims' Bill of Rights. For example, you may be entitled to information about the prosecution of the perpetrator, and you may have the right to present a victim impact statement at the time of sentencing.
  • You may be entitled to restitution for any loss, damage, or injury that you incurred.
  • You are also protected under the Ralph Act and the Bane Act. Under these acts, you could receive up to $25,000 in punitive and compensatory damages in civil court.
HAVE YOUR CIVIL RIGHTS BEEN VIOLATED BECAUSE OF YOUR RACE, RELIGION, OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, AND YOU NEED SUPPORT OR LEGAL INFORMATION?

CSU, Chico Resources

Police Department
(530) 898-5555

Community Legal Information Center (CLIC)
(530) 898-4354

Counseling & Wellness Center
(530) 898-4697

Student Judicial Affairs
(530) 898-6897

Diversity & Inclusion Office
(530) 898-4764

Community Resources

Butte County District Attorney’s Office
(530) 538-7411

Butte County Victim Witness
(530) 538-7340 or (530) 891-2812

California Attorney General’s Office of Victims’ Services (877) 433-9069

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