The Salt Lake County Council unanimously passed a hate crime resolution on Tuesday. It’s meant to encourage the State Legislature to create hate crime laws when they meet in their upcoming General Session.
County Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw introduced the resolution. It describes how victims in the state have been targeted for religious beliefs, ethnicity and gender identity to “deprive them of their unalienable right to life, liberty, property or pursuit of happiness.”
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill spoke, too. He talked about discrimination he's faced as someone from India and how this resolution and the laws it inspires would help the law enforcement community.
"This is something that prosecutors across the state and from law enforcement have come together to ask for some mechanism which will give us the tools that are necessary so we can actually hold individuals accountable who engage in this kind of conduct," Gill says.
Gill said in 2015 and 2016 hate crimes increased 40 percent nationally. And in Utah in 2016, there were 26 focused on the ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or disability of victims.
The resolution passed the council unanimously. It will be sent to all the members of the Utah legislature who represent Salt Lake County.