A graphic video of a white man being tortured led to the arrest of four black men and women, who can be seen and heard shouting things like “Fuck Donald Trump; fuck white people.”
Symone Sanders, former national press secretary for Bernie Sanders and current Democratic strategist, told CNN’s Don Lemon on Wednesday night that she did not believe the actions in the video could be classified as a hate crime.
“So, first I want to say, this is absolutely sickening,” she began. “It’s unfathomable that so much hate and anger can fill up a person where they go out and they think that this is okay.” Of the actions being a hate crime, however, Sanders said:
We can’t callously go about classifying things of the hate crime. Motive here matters. So, was this for hate of Donald Trump, the President-elect? Because I think — was this for pure hate of white people? That matters. Because if we start going around and anytime someone says something or does something really egregious, really bad in sickening of this instance and connection with the president-elect or Donald Trump, or even President Obama for that matter, because of their political leanings, that’s slippery territory.
“That is not a hate crime.” Sanders went on to define a hate crime as being influenced by “a person’s racial ethnicity, their religion, their gender, a disability.” Sanders did not believe that political leanings counted in this classification.
Late in November 2016, Sanders openly mocked a supporter of President-elect Donald Trump
On Thursday afternoon, the Associated Press reported that hate crime and battery charges were filed against the suspects.
The FBI provides the definition of a hate crime on their website:
A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. For the purposes of collecting statistics, the FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.” Hate itself is not a crime—and the FBI is mindful of protecting freedom of speech and other civil liberties.