Source: The Salt Lake Tribune
As he watched Utah Gov. Gary Herbert sign a bill to give the state’s unenforceable hate crimes law some teeth, Luis Lopez had mixed feelings Tuesday.
He was happy to know that future victims of bias-motivated crimes will be protected under state law. But the scars on his face from an attack last fall — when a man showed up at his family’s Salt Lake City tire shop and allegedly whacked him in the head with a metal pole, knocking him unconscious — served as a reminder that the law had come too late to help him.
Alan Dale Covington had allegedly shouted “I’m here to kill a Mexican” before the assault of which he is accused. Lopez suffered a shattered cheekbone and eye socket and a collapsed sinus. But Salt Lake County prosecutors were unable to charge Covington with hate crime enhancements because of shortcomings in state code.