Minneapolis Launches Controversial “Hate Crime” Hotline

“Hate crimes” can now be directly reported via telephone in Minneapolis. Using its pre-existing, taxpayer-funded 3-1-1 service, the city launched a hotline for residents to report “any crime against a person or property motivated by prejudice.”

Through its 311 service, the City of Minneapolis has opened a new hotline for reporting hate crimes, which are harassing behaviors motivated by prejudice. The hotline number is 311 for anyone calling from within the city or 612-673-3000 statewide. The 311 hotline will be answered 7 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekends.

A hate crime is any crime against a person or property motivated by prejudice against someone’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender or gender identity. This includes prejudice-motivated property damage (including graffiti), stalking and assault.

Harassing behaviors are usually unwanted or unwelcome, but that doesn’t mean a crime has been committed. And if a law is broken and a crime is committed, isn’t that why we have local police and a 911 service?

According to the Director of Minneapolis’ Department of Civil Rights—Velma Korbel—President Trump is the reason the hotline is needed.

Since the general election, many of us have experienced, witnessed firsthand or heard of actions of: racism, xenophobia, sexism and bigotry directed at people here and in cities across the United States. In no uncertain terms, hate-motivated speech and actions have no place in Minneapolis nor will they be tolerated. Activities such as these are against the law. No one is above the law.

Well, actually, there’s no “hate speech” exception to the First Amendment. Even if the speech is offensive. There isn’t even a fixed legal definition for “hate speech” under U.S. law.

Is Minneapolis’ new hotline really out of concern for alleged victims? Or is it just a political statement?