Manuel Contreras attacked three African Americans while shouting “White Power!” and “Donald Trump” in Las Vegas this week.
Las Vegas Metro law enforcement reported officers finding Contreras, 26, jumping on a planter and screaming. The incident happened just before 2 am Monday near the Las Vegas Boulevard/Sands Avenue intersection.
A man told law enforcement that he, his wife and cousin were heading to a bus stop when a white man, Contreras, attacked them. Contreras punched the man in the face and then struck another black man knocking him into the street.
Next, Contreas chased the woman, but she escaped. Contreras is free on bail while he waits for trial.
Contreras faces three counts of misdemeanor battery. Prosecutors are still deciding whether to add “hate crime enhancements” to the charges according to The Review Journal.
Hate crime, also called bias-motivated crime, is a violent, prejudice motivated act which happens when someone marks a victim because of the victim’s perceived association with a particular social group. Examples of groups include ethnicity, gender identity, language, nationality, physical appearance, sexual orientation or religion.
Nevada’s statutes regarding hate crimes are spelled out in the 1989 Statutes of Nevada, Page 898.
Federal investigations of what are now termed hate crimes began as far back as the First World War. The FBI’s role increased with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Before that, the federal government took the position that civil rights was a local responsibility and not a federal one.
The slayings of three civil rights workers Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney in Mississippi in 1964 prompted the federal government to implement visible and continued efforts to defend the civil rights of African Americans.
The Southern Poverty Law Center collected 200 hate crime reports between Election Day on November 8 and November 13.
The SPLC points to the rhetoric and proposals of President-elect Donald Trump as the biggest factor behind the increase.
“Since the election, we’ve seen a big uptick in property destruction, intimidations and bullying spurred by the rhetoric surrounding Trump’s election,” SPLC’s president, Richard Cohen, told USAToday.
“The white supremacists are celebrating his victory, and many are feeling their oats.”