A man attacked 2 Latinos in Utah. Due to a loophole, it can't be considered a hate crime.

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Via Didi Martinez and Jareen Imam

A person who allegedly attacked a Latino father and son after claiming they have been a part of the Mexican Mafia additionally believed they’d killed his daughter, one of the crucial sufferers mentioned.

Alan Dale Covington, 50, entered Lopez Tires in Salt Lake Town, Utah, on Tuesday and mentioned he used to be “going to kill anyone,” in step with an indictment. Jose Lopez, 50, and Luis Lopez, 18, have been running within the circle of relatives’s store and Covington attacked them with a pole earlier than fleeing the scene.

“I got here out to invite if he wanted the rest and the very first thing he mentioned to me used to be, ‘You guys killed my f—— daughter,'” Luis Lopez mentioned.

Salt Lake Town Police Sgt. Brandon Shearer informed NBC Information that they have been blind to any statements made via Covington regarding the lifestyles of a daughter and can’t ascertain whether or not she exists.

Luis Lopez within the clinic following an assault on him and his father, Jose Lopez, of their circle of relatives tire store in Salt Lake Town, Utah.Courtesy of Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez informed NBC Information that he can simplest have in mind “bits and items” of what came about as a result of he misplaced awareness; police mentioned he had sustained critical accidents by the point they arrived. Jose Lopez used to be discovered “kneeling at the flooring conserving a work of fabric” to his son’s face, in step with the police observation. Each have been taken to the clinic and launched Friday night.

Covington has since been charged with two prison counts of annoyed attack, a prison guns rate and two drug-related misdemeanors, in step with a Friday indictment. He informed police that the Mexican mafia has been “after him since 2008” and that he went to Lopez Tires to look in the event that they knew folks within the gang as a result of “they all know each and every different.”

Salt Lake County District Legal professional Sim Gill informed NBC Information that it will no longer be imaginable to rate Covington with a hate crime because of a Utah regulation that limits hate crimes to misdemeanor attacks.

“We don’t have a workable hate crimes statute within the state of Utah,” Gill mentioned. “What that underscores is a elementary false impression and unwillingness to acknowledge what a hate crime is.”

He added that he used to be “pissed off” via the limitation.

“We pat ourselves at the again, announcing that we have got a hate crimes statute — it’s simplest appropriate to the bottom class of offenses, that are misdemeanors,” Gill mentioned. “If you have felonies, the statute isn’t even to be had for that.”

Covington, who police have made up our minds is homeless, admitted to eating methamphetamine the day earlier than.

Alan Dale Covington.Salt Lake Town Prison

However because the alleged attacker stays on the Salt Lake County Grownup Detention Middle, the sufferers’ circle of relatives says they’re “past offended” that Covington may not be charged with a hate crime.

“This guy must assist in control of what he has accomplished to my circle of relatives,” mentioned Veronica Lopez, 26. “If my dad would have no longer used his personal frame to protect my brother from the opposite blows, he would have killed him.”

She mentioned her father is predicted to be k, however continues to be “shaken up” via the entire incident.

The ACLU of Utah known as the incident a “horrible assault” and really helpful an road for hate crimes regulation to be enforced in an identical circumstances.

“When accompanied via unfastened speech protections and implemented with out bias via prosecutors, we consider that detest crimes regulation can strike the precise steadiness between responding to horrible acts towards explicit inhabitants and guarding towards the criminalization of speech or organizational club this is unrelated to the crime,” the group mentioned in a observation launched Friday.

Rima Abdelkader contributed.

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