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KPTV/FOX12 - Victim advocacy groups, hate crime survivors hold conference in support of SB 577

Updated: Jun 13, 2019

SALEM, OR (KPTV) - A bill to toughen the state's laws on bias crimes was back in front of legislators on Wednesday.

Before their work session, victim advocacy groups and several hate crime survivors held a conference expressing support for the bill.

First and foremost, it would rename “intimidation crimes” as bias-crimes.

According to the FBI, there has been a steady rise in these reported hate crimes in Oregon since 2014.

146 were reported statewide in 2017, the most recent year in which this type of crime data is available.

“I involved in a hate crime two years ago with Jeremy Christian,” Survivor Demetria Hester said.

Jeremy Christian is the man who police said stabbed three men on the max in 2017 killing two of them in what investigators deemed a racially-motivated attack.

According to Hester, the day before that happened, she too was one of Christian’s targets, claiming he verbally and physically assaulted her on a TriMet train.

That experience, prompting her to rally for harsher punishments in cases of bias crime.

“If we do experience hate, we should know that the law is on our side,” Hester said. (more)

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