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Utah police say hate crime law could protect Confederate flag lovers

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Police in Salt Lake City said this week that hate crime laws could be used to prosecute black suspects who allegedly assaulted a white man during an argument about a Confederate flag.

Kelly Leeper told KTSU that he was in town for a Garth Brooks concert when he noticed black men near his friend’s truck, which he said contained $50,000 worth of welding equipment.

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According to Leeper, the men argued with him over a Confederate flag decal on the side of the truck when he and his friend confronted them.

Cell phone video shows one of the men appearing to punch Leeper’s friend in the face, knocking him out. Leeper said that he was also forced to the ground by the men.

“I’ll be damned if I ever come to Salt Lake again without bringing my gun,” Leeper insisted. “The point is it’s my right to drive what any kind of vehicle I want. If I want to fly the Confederate Flag, it’s my right.”

Leeper said that neither he nor his friend were seriously hurt in the scuffle.

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Salt Lake City Police Department spokesperson Sgt. Robin Heiden told KTSU that the attack “could potentially be a hate crime.”

“We’ll then present all that to the district attorney who will make that final determination,” she said.

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Salt Lake City Police are searching for a silver two-door car. They believe it has temporary Utah licenses plates, partially reading “9-7-S-20.”

“Somebody thought to get a plate number as well and that’s really going to help in this case. I think we’ll probably be able to track down that vehicle,” Heiden explained.

The FBI defines a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”

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Watch the video below from KTSU, 2broadcast Nov. 2, 2015.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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2020 Election

GOPer Joni Ernst booed and peppered with questions about guns at tense Iowa town hall

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In videos uploaded to Twitter, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) received a chorus of boos and shouts from a town hall crowd after she tried to blame mass shootings on mental health issues, with one person shouting, "Do something!"

According to a report from Iowa Starting Line, the embattled Iowa Senator whose approval numbers have dropped, due in part to President Donald Trump, was pressed by one local teacher about changing gun laws so she can get back to the job she was hired for.

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Activism

‘That is ridiculous’: Andrew Gillum obliterates Santorum for claiming guns aren’t ‘problem’ in mass shootings

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CNN contributor Andrew Gillum called conservative pundit Rick Santorum "ridiculous" on Sunday for suggesting that guns are not the problem in mass shootings.

During a CNN discussion on gun control, Santorum criticized calls from Democratic candidates for the government to buy back assault-style weapons in addition to banning them.

"The truth is something has to give," Gillum said. "The stranglehold that the NRA seems to have over Congress, over Washington, D.C., in my opinion, is insane. How can we put the priorities of one interest group above the safety, the security of the American people?"

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Activism

WATCH: Tenn. lawmaker seeks to ‘destroy Satan’ by banning abortions in cases of rape and incest

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The sponsor of a bill that would effectively ban all abortions in Tennessee said that he hopes to "destroy Satan."

Sen. Mark Pody (R) made the remarks at a Monday prayer gathering before debate on the bill.

"I'm not against any colleagues, whether they're standing with me or not," Pody said. "I'm against Satan and I'm standing with God."

"We will not back up, we will not back down, we will not turn around," he added. "We face the enemy. We have no protection when we run. We have no protection for our back."

The Tennessee ban would take effect once "a viable pregnancy is presumed to exist or has been confirmed," effectively banning all abortions in the state. There is no exception in the bill for rape or incest.

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