Man Booked on Blue Lives Matter Hate Crime

 

Policeman with police cruiser

Policeman with police cruiser

If you or a family member are facing legal difficulties, please call us at 504-522-7260. We offer free initial consultations with our clients in mind.

Emily Lane of The Times-Picayune reports that New Orleans police arrested a man this week and charged him with a hate crime and other offenses after police say he damaged a window at a French Quarter hotel and then shouted slurs at a witness and officers, according to the man’s arrest warrant.

It appears to be the first time Louisiana’s so-called “blue lives matter” provision has been used to charge someone with a hate crime involving police officers, according to the Anti-defamation League (NOLA.com).

Raul Delatoba, 28, was booked Monday (Sept. 5) on charges of simple criminal damage to property, disturbing the peace and a felony-level hate crime, his arrest warrant says. During his arrest, but after he had broken the window, Delatoba is accused of using sexist and racial slurs against police officers, the document shows (NOLA.com).

The regional director of the Anti-defamation League, an organization that trains law enforcement agencies to enforce hate crimes, said she does not believe a hate crime occurred in this incident, based on the circumstances described in Delatoba’s warrant (NOLA.com).

Allison Padilla-Goodman, the group’s director, said she believes Delatoba is possibly the first person charged with a hate crime under the “blue lives matter” provision the Legislature recently added to the state’s hate crime law. The provision adds law enforcement occupation to the list of targeted victims for which a hate crime applies (NOLA.com).

According to arrest documents, Delatoba was drunk and banging on a window at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, 300 Bourbon St. around 5:15 a.m. Monday, when a witness who heard the banging told him to stop. Delatoba’s warrant says he yelled at the witness, “calling him a n—–.” (NOLA.com).

That witness, a security guard who works at a nearby building’s mezzanine, along with a security supervisor for the Royal Sonesta, flagged down two Louisiana State Troopers who then escorted Delatoba to NOPD’s 8th District station, the warrant states. Once at the station, the warrant states, Delatoba began to verbally “attack members of the New Orleans Police Dept.” The warrant states Delatoba called one female officer a “dumb a– c—” and another officer a “dumb a– n—–.” (NOLA.com).

The warrant states Sgt. S. Jackson instructed NOPD Officer Williams Knowles to charge Delatoba with a hate crime in addition to damaging property and disturbing the peace. “The hate crime charge stems from Delatoba’s attack on individuals based on their race, sex, and occupation,” the warrant states (NOLA.com).

A police officer and the security guard who worked at a nearby building are listed as victims in the case, along with the Royal Sonesta and the state of Louisiana (NOLA.com).

Lindsey Hortenstine, a spokeswoman for the Orleans Public Defender’s office, declined Wednesday to comment on Delatoba’s case, noting OPD typically does not comment on open cases (NOLA.com).

Defining hate crimes in Louisiana

Padilla-Goodman, who directs the Anti-Defamation League for Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas, said after consulting with the group’s attorney that she does not believe the incident qualifies as a hate crime because the verbal attack on police officers — “while it’s horrible” — does not connect to an underlying crime (NOLA.com).

She said the Royal Sonesta window does not appear to have been targeted in relation to the security guard Delatoba is accused of calling by a racial slur or the police officers at the 8th District station, based on information in the warrant (NOLA.com).

Louisiana’s hate crime statute makes it illegal to commit specific “underlying offenses” when the victim of those offenses is selected because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, nationality, age, or because of their “actual or perceived employment as a law enforcement officer, firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel” (NOLA.com).

The underlying offenses listed in the law range in seriousness from simple criminal damage to property, such as vandalism or breaking a window, to murder (NOLA.com).

“Proving a hate crime is tough,” said Padilla-Goodman, noting the motive of the underlying crime is key (NOLA.com).

If the underlying offense is a felony, a hate crime can tack on an additional five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, Louisiana law states. If the underlying offense is a misdemeanor, a hate crime can tack on an addition six months in jail and a $500 fine (NOLA.com).

See the full article here.

 

If you or a family member are facing legal difficulties, please call us at 504-522-7260. We offer free initial consultations with our clients in mind.