CBS News reports that a Massachusetts woman who assaulted a Spanish-speaking family will not receive any jail time as part of her sentence — sparking outrage from local civil rights advocates who are accusing the courts of failing to properly punish hate.
"Stephanie Armstrong was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation following a two-day, non-jury trial in Boston Municipal Court in the majority Latino East Boston neighborhood where the attack took place," reported Philip Marcelo of the Associated Press. "Prosecutors say Armstrong and another woman assaulted a mother and her teenage daughter outside a subway station because they believed the two were making fun of them in Spanish."
According to the report, prosecutors argue that the women believed that the victim was mocking them in Spanish. Armstrong -- whose lawyers describe her as an LGBTQ person who would "never do anything to interfere with anyone else’s civil rights" -- was given only two years' probation with no prison time, even though the court said six months of jail time could be warranted.
"Lawyers for Civil Rights, an organization representing the victims, said the sentences handed down were too 'lax' and that the defendants should have faced jail time," said the report. "The group said the trial 'retraumatized' Sara Vasquez and her daughter, who was 15 at the time of the attack, and would deter other victims of hate crimes from coming forward. 'By failing to meaningfully sentence the assailants, the legal system exacerbates racism and bigotry,' the organization said in a statement. 'Every individual should be free to walk their communities and speak their native language without fear of violence.'"
Hate attacks of all sorts have risen in recent years.
In one incident in 2019, a Wisconsin man who wrote a letter to former President Donald Trump demanding he do something about "defectives" and "parasites" threw drain cleaner on a Hispanic man during a parking dispute, while claiming he "invaded" the country.
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