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City Of Tucson Expands Hate-Crime Resolution

Last week, the city of Tucson passed a hate-crime resolution, expanding the definition of buildings covered under the law and applying minimum penalties, including 10 days of jail, for a first offense.

Taha Hassan is the director of public relations for the Islamic Center of Tucson.  He says this resolution comes at right time, as the mosque at the Center was hit with an act of vandalism on March 14. Someone broke into the center at 3:30 in the morning and vandalized Qurans, and causing property damage.

The Tucson Police Department did not immediately identify the break-in as a hate crime and that bothered Hassan.

But this wasn’t the first incident to put the focus on minority harassment issues in Tucson.

In October 2016, the city passed an anti-hate resolution, but back then, unlike this most recent resolution, the anti-hate resolution had no punitive teeth.

We talked to Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild and asked him what effects that anti-hate resolution had on the community and what he hoped this new resolution would do now.

I also spoke with Rob Brandt, sergeant for the Tucson Police Department Intelligence Unit. And I asked him, has Tucson had an issue with hate crime incidents in the past, perhaps higher than average for the size of the city? And has there been any uptick in these types of crimes over the past year?

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Mark Brodie is a co-host of The Show, KJZZ’s locally produced news magazine. Since starting at KJZZ in 2002, Brodie has been a host, reporter and producer, including several years covering the Arizona Legislature, based at the Capitol.