Utah code prevents violent attack on Mexican father and son from being considered a hate crime

SALT LAKE CITY, UT- A man has been charged with aggravated assault…and not a hate crime…after beating a Latino father and his son outside their tire shop while screaming his hate for Mexicans.

According to Salt Lake City police, Dale Covington was arrested last Tuesday after attacking 51-year-old Jose Lopez and his 18-year-old son Luis Gustavo Lopez, the Huffington Post reported. Covington approached Luis Gustavo and began shouting “I hate Mexicans” and “I’m here to kill a Mexican” before attacking them with a metal rod.  

“My dad got 8 stitches in his arm and has his back severely bruised due to the blows he received.,” Veronica Lopez, daughter of Jose Lopez posted on the GoFundMe page set up for her dad and brother. “My brothers right side of his face was shattered, he had a three hour surgery to place a titanium plate from the right side of his face to his nose to be able to attach the bones and keep his eyeball in place and a plate under that.”

To make matters worse, because of an outdated Utah code, the attack will not be considered a hate crime! The Utah code prevents any charge more serious than a misdemeanor assault to be prosecuted as hate crime.

“It makes my blood boil,” Veronica Lopez told The Salt Lake Tribune. “What do they want next? Do they want him to kill someone to see that he’s dangerous?”

Anybody reading this disturbing story can easily identify this as a hate-fueled crime and it is sad to hear that an outdated code is keeping the Lopez family from fully receiving the justice they deserve.

According to the report, Covington confirmed going to the business with the metal pipe in hand because he know the owners were Mexican and he wanted to see if anyone there was in the Mexican mafia because “all of them know each other.”

Literal definition of a hate crime.

To make matters even more worse, police detectives said that the attacker had “some mental health issues” that “clouded his judgement,” according to the Tribune report. This is no excuse for the extremely violent attack he laid upon this unsuspecting family. The excuse of “mental health issues” is commonly used in the media to sugar coat racially-infused attacks which we have seen increase under the Trump administration.

In the last year our administration has ramped up their hate-filled and divisive rhetoric against immigrant, especially those from Central America. One prime example took place last month in the days leading to the midterm elections, when Trump circled several racist ads in the media, one that focused Luis Bracamontes, a Mexican man convicted of murdering two California cops in 2014.

This racially-fueled, xenophobic rhetoric is no doubt dividing this country and resulting in more incidents like this one. The Lopez family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the victims to help pay their medical bills since neither have medical insurance.