In June 2021, the City Commission enacted hate crime ordinances specific for the crimes of criminal mischief, harassment, and simple assault. When these crimes are committed against a person in whole or in part because of the actual or perceived race, color, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ancestry of the victim, the Department takes a report, conducts an investigation, and may refer the case to the City Prosecutor. These crimes are Class B misdemeanors, charged out in municipal court, that carry a maximum penalty of a $1500 fine and 30 days in jail.
The City of Fargo Hate Crime Ordinances
City of Fargo Ordinance 10-0321.1 - Criminal Mischief - Hate Crime states a person is guilty of criminal mischief if he commits any of the following acts:
A. Willfully tampers with tangible property of another so as to endanger person or property.
B. Willfully damages tangible property of another. The court may, in addition to assessing any penalty for violation of this ordinance as permitted by law, order reimbursement or restitution by the offender to the person whose property has been damaged or destroyed.
C. Commits an offense in violation of subdivision A or B in whole or in part because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ancestry of the victim.
City of Fargo Ordinance 10-0322.1 - Harassment - Hate Crime states:
A. A person is guilty of an offense if, with intent to frighten or harass another, he:1.Makes a telephone call anonymously or in offensively coarse language;2.Makes repeated telephone calls or other electronic communication, whether or not a conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or3.Communicates a falsehood in writing or by electronic communication and causes mental anguish.
B. Any offense defined herein and committed by use of electronic communication may be deemed to have been committed at either the place at which the electronic communication was made, or at the place where the electronic communication was received.
C. Any offense defined herein is deemed communicated in writing if it is transmitted electronically, by electronic mail, facsimile, or other similar means. Electronic communication means transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic, or photo-optical system.
D. Commits an offense in violation of subdivision A (1), (2), or (3) in whole or in part because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ancestry of the victim.
City of Fargo Ordinance 10-0323.1 - Simple Assault - Hate Crime states:
A person is guilty of an offense if he:
A. Willfully causes bodily injury to another human being; or
B. Negligently causes bodily injury to another human being by means of a firearm, destructive device, or other weapon, the use of which against a human being is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury.
C. Causes bodily injury to another in whole or in part because of the victim's actual or perceived race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, or ancestry.
Hate Crime Reports
The Fargo Police Department provides the City Commission quarterly reports on all hate crimes reported in Fargo.
Federal Civil Rights
The FBI is the lead investigative agency for criminal violations of Federal Civil Rights statutes. The Fargo Police Department refers the criminal offense to the FBI if the incident meets the elements of the Federal Hate Crime Statutes listed below.
- Willfully causes bodily injury (or attempts to do so using a fire, a firearms, or other dangerous weapon) and the crime affects interstate or foreign commerce, (Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 18 U.S.C.§ 249)
- Willfully injures, intimidates, or interferes with a person, or to attempt to do so, by force or threat of force, (Federally Protected Activities 18 U.S.C.§ 245)
- Intentionally defaces, damages or destroys religious real property because of the religious nature of the property, so long as the crime is committed in or affects interstate commerce; someone who intentionally obstructs or attempts to obstruct, by force or threat of force, a person in the enjoyment of that person’s religious beliefs, where the crime is committed in or affects interstate commerce; someone who intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any religious real property because of bias regardless of any connection to interstate or foreign commerce. (Damage to Religious Property; Obstruction of Persons in the Free Exercise of Religious Beliefs 18 U.S.C.§ 247)
- Unlawful for an individual to use force or threaten to use force to injure, intimidate, or interfere with, or attempt to injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person’s housing rights because of that person’s race, color, religious, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin. (Criminal Interference with Right to Fair Housing 42 U.S.C.§ 3631)
- Unlawful for two or more persons to agree together to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him/her by the Constitution or the law of the United States (Conspiracy Against Rights 18 U.S.C.§ 241)
Reporting a Hate Crime
- Call 911 if you are in immediate danger.
- If you believe you are a victim of a hate crime, or a crime of any type, please call the Red River Regional Dispatch Center at 701.451.7660 to file a report.
- If you are interested in educational resources, please note that the FPD has an LBGTQ+ Liaison Officer and a Culture Engagement Officer who can assist with these requests.