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Call for crimes against homeless to be hate crimes

CINCINNATI (WKRC) -- A homeless man who was attacked near Washington Park said the assault should be classified as a hate crime.

John Hensley said he left the Drop Inn Center Sunday morning, heading for a temporary job cleaning up Great American Ball Park. Hensley said three guys jumped him at the nearby intersection, punching, kicking, and knocking him to the ground.

The suspects, young men, were charged with misdemeanor assault.  Ohio does not have a hate crime statute covering the homeless.

"I thank god the police were there because these guys were going to kill me," said Hensley.  "It wasn't about money or color; it was let's see what it feels like to kill somebody. It's time Cincinnati said enough of this."
The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition said penalties for attacking homeless people could be made more severe if they were classified as hate crimes.

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