U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas says local governments should enact hate crime laws to give law enforcement more options when protests and demonstrations turn violent.
Kansas’ senior senator called the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, a “terrible tragedy.”
He said cities should enact ordinances on hate crimes so that law enforcement could step in ahead of violence, which he said was not done in Charlottesville.
"It would’ve been a far better thing to extinguish that parade right at the outset," Roberts said Monday. "But that’s again up to Charlottesville, and it’s up to the state of Virginia, and I hope we don’t see that in Kansas."
Roberts was in Wichita to participate in an oil and gas industry conference. He was also the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Wichita’s weekly meeting.
Kansas lawmakers did not take action during the last session on a Senate bill that would have increased penalties for hate crimes and establish reporting requirements for law enforcement agencies.
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