Grand Forks City Council passes hate crime ordinances

(Grand Forks, ND) -- The Grand Forks City Council has unanimously approved new hate crime ordinances. 

"Nationwide, fair housing centers play a key role in responding to bias or hate crimes because of the alarming statistic that more than 30% of all bias or hate crimes happen at or near a person's home," said Maura Ferguson, a representative with the High Plains Fair Housing Center, while speaking in support of the ordinances.    

Several citizens spoke in support of the hate crime ordinances before the council voted Monday night.  Some council members previously raised concerns about whether an offender can be found not guilty if prosecutors can't prove the crime was driven by hate.  The ordinances include simple assault hate crime, criminal mischief, criminal mischief-hate crime, harassment, and harassment-hate crime.