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When can hate crime charges be filed?

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A number of recent racially offensive displays have people asking questions about freedom of speech, and hate crimes.

This week, a confederate flag was placed next to a black skeleton, hanging from a flagpole with a noose in Oriskany, KKK fliers were distributed in Rome last week, and a Nazi flag flying in Preble has upset residents there.

Legal experts say there is protection under the First Amendment.

While the displays are offensive to many, they are not illegal.

A hate crime can only occur when someone is touched or hurt intentionally.

“Assault, menacing, strangulation, manslaughter…there are a whole list of crimes that can be prosecuted as a hate crime but they to have an added element of targeting someone because of their race, religion or ethnicity,” says Gerald D. Raymond of Tully Rinckey Law.

KKK fliers have been placed on property three times this summer in Oneida County

State Police have been directed to look into those incidents.

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