Fort Wayne family “frustrated” over hate crimes bill failure

Photo Supplied / Indiana Statehouse

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): State lawmakers’ failure to get a hate crimes law passed in Indiana this year has left a Fort Wayne family “devastated.”

Lakysha Gardner and her family are black. Her teenage son was beaten unconscious at a mobile home park in New Haven this past summer by a white teenager, who yelled racial slurs while doing so.

While the teen was found guilty, he only served 30 days in juvenile detention for the attack. Gardner tells our Partners in News at ABC 21 she’s frustrated with lawmakers:

“I felt defeated, I felt like it was all in vain, it meant nothing, us going there, talking, us telling our story, it meant nothing.”

Gardner says harassment at the mobile home park got so bad they ended up moving to Fort Wayne.

Senate leader David Long of Fort Wayne says lawmakers could not reach an agreement on the bill’s wording. It would have allowed judges to impose tougher sentences for crimes motivated by factors such as race, religion, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

Indiana is one of only 5 states without such laws.

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