By: Samuel Collazo Merle
On Thursday, March 6 2014 at 9:00 a.m. the lawyers Joel Ayala Martínez and Luis Nieves Rosa speakers at the fifth Coloquio del Otro La’o presented a conference on harassment and hate crimes . The lawyer Jose Ayala Martinez is a professor in the University of Puerto Rico at Carolina and Sagrado Corazon also he’s a legal assistant and directs the civil rights commission of LGBTT. About 30 people attended the event.
Ayala Martínez and Nieves Rosa explained how small crimes can be punished by law if they are considered that were committed because of prejudice. The lawyer Ayala Martinez explained that a crime based on prejudice need not be a homicide and that it can change from that to a hate crime under certain conditions.
Ayala added that hate crimes are based on the motivation of the perpetrator. Ayala gave the example of the damage of property or leaving the mark such as property damage leaving threatening words, this would be recognize as causes of element of prejudice.
Another example of a hate crime motivated by prejudice would be writing the word “queer” on the glass of a car with the purpose of offending the person that is driving it. Others also include racial harassment, homophobia and trans-phobia that are other hate crime offence, according to Portsmouth. Portsmouth it’s a safe partnership that recognize, provide support and protect individuals or groups from harassments.
The lawyer insisted that the police and other personnel need to be taught about these two types of crime because it is easier to impute a sentence by other cause than by these ones and not every judge can emotionally comprehend the damage that these offenses cause on the victim.
The lawyer mentioned that the laws are “tricky” and can help the offended if they are well used but if not they would work the other way and they can completely nule the case.
After the lawyer ended the Luis Padilla a lawyer from the Civil Rights Commission on the LGBT announced an observatory, which is a page which they want to obtain information about everything happening in the LGBT community and announced that in their web page is a button which can be submitted when the person has a problem with harassment or hate crime and they would try to communicate with them as soon as possible to help the person with their problem.