Fort Worth Police to Respond to More Calls About "Hate Incidents"

Alan Scaia
October 15, 2018 - 12:04 pm
Racist Banners

NBCDFW.COM

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FORT WORTH (KRLD) - Fort Worth police will now respond to every report of racist graffiti. Earlier this month, someone hung a banner from the Morningside Drive overpass over I-35W reading, "Deport them all." Downtown, a group posted fliers with the slogan, "Reclaim America."

"I think we need a lot of education with our community," says Eva Bonilla, the director of the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission. "In Fort Worth, hate has no place."

The commission says the cases have been classified as "hate incidents," not "hate crimes."

Police say a hate crime needs a specific threat, and the banner and fliers were too vague. The fliers and banner would only be misdemeanors because they were posted on public property without permission.

"Right now, that is the only city ordinance that we have," says Deputy Police Chief Robert Alldredge. "If it's posted on public or city property, that is a city ordinance violation. There are no penal code violations."

Alldredge says the Fort Worth Police Department's Homeland Security unit is aware of hate groups, but the department has issued just two citations this year for placing signs on public property. In one case, someone was promoting a business. In the other, someone was just posting fliers for a personal reason.

Bonilla, with the Human Relations Commission, says people can now call the police non-emergency number when they see a racist flier or banner. In each case, an officer will now be assigned and respond to take a report.

"I just know there are a lot of people out there who are confused, and in this climate of hate, I think they've been incited to do things to call attention," she says.

Alldredge says officers and call-takers have gone through training on how to handle calls about hate incidents. Now, an officer will respond if the person calling asks to see someone in person