SALT LAKE CITY – An attack caught on a viral video is now resulting in charges for a man who appears to hit another person because the person said he is gay.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill has charged Carlos Alazo, 22, of Florida with two counts of assault and one count of threatening with or using a dangerous weapon in a fight or quarrel.
According to court documents, Alazo made homophobic and racial comments while approaching a group of people on Main Street in Salt Lake City on February 17.
One of the persons in the group being targeted, Salvador Trejo, began filming Alazo with a cell phone.
Alazo allegedly hit Trejo and then Alazo pulled out a knife and pointed the knife blade at Trejo. The knife then slipped out of Alazo’s hand.
The eight-second clip was posted on Sunday and quickly went viral on social media.
Gill says the suspect is not being charged with a hate crime because the county does not have a “workable hate crimes statute” available to prosecutors.
He told legislators on Capitol Hill this week that hate crimes cause a fear through communities and that a Utah hate crimes law “appropriately recognizes the kind of harm” caused by hate crimes.
Gill also said that a hate crimes law “has been long overdue.”
Police say Alazo has been “cooperating fully.”
Gill did not say if the case against Alazo would qualify as a hate crime under the proposed hate crime law currently being considered by the Utah Legislature.
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