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This article is an example of the need for strong and unambiguous bias crimes legislation. To join our efforts to support this change, visit http://indychamber.com/advocacy/bias-crimes/.

 

FORT WAYNE — “This is a hate crime.”

That’s what a white supremacist told a Fort Wayne police officer last year, according to an affidavit, as he confessed to killing a black man.

Aaryn Snyder showed the police officer a tattoo — a “patch,” the affidavit said, from a “white organization.” He said he earned it by killing.

He stabbed 22-year-old Samuel Hardrix to death, leaving the body to decompose in somebody’s backyard.

The homicide was one of 69 hate crimes reported in Indiana in 2016, according to an annual state report.

Among the other hate crimes police reported:

  • Two white men beat a black man to death in a state prison dormitory in Putnamville.
  • In Indianapolis, a woman received a letter saying the neighborhood didn’t want black people living with white people, and she had “24 hours or else.”
  • Two teenage suspects went on a spray-painting spree in McCordsville, according to police, drawing large swastikas in the streets, “Heil Hitler” and “Gas the Jews” on a construction site, and an anti-black slur in the driveway of a home formerly rented by an African-American couple.

People were attacked and intimidated for being black, for being gay, for being Hispanic — and, according to the report, for being white. They had their homes, cars and businesses vandalized and destroyed for being Jewish or for being Muslim.

While Indiana does not have a hate crime law, it certainly does have hate crimes.

“This is not a hypothetical,” said Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, who has advocated for a state hate crime law. “That conduct is out there, and we should all be aware of it.”

Indiana is one of five states without a law addressing penalties for hate crimes that target people because of certain characteristics, such as their race, religion or sexual orientation. But it does require law enforcement agencies to record such crimes and report them to the Indiana State Police.

 

Original story: https://www.indystar.com/story/news/crime/2017/09/10/2016-indiana-hate-crimes-white-supremacist-murdered-black-man/603073001/