In part three of this series, we mentioned that we would be contacting the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the Painesville Police Department to determine if the Facebook comments by Painesville residents Rachel Rodriguez and Marsita Ferguson, leader of the Painesville chapter of Black Lives Matter, rise to the level of threats or hate speech against fellow citizens.
Here are the Facebook posts in question:
We did speak to both departments, and both officers were extremely cordial and professional in their conduct. However, both officers said that this incident falls into “freedom of speech”, and they do not consider these words as threats against the Trump supporters of Lake County. There has to be specific threat of violent actions to be perpetrated against another citizen. For example, “I am going to blow up your house”, or “I will shoot you, and your family”.
We decided to look at the Ohio Revised Code.
O.R.C. 2903.22 Menacing.
(A) No person shall knowingly cause another to believe that the offender will cause physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person’s unborn, or a member of the other person’s immediate family. In addition to any other basis for the other person’s belief that the offender will cause physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person’s unborn, or a member of the other person’s immediate family, the other person’s belief may be based on words or conduct of the offender that are directed at or identify a corporation, association, or other organization that employs the other person or to which the other person belongs.
Defining hate crimes (from Ohiobar.org)
Ohio law broadly defines hate crimes as criminal acts motivated by prejudice or intolerance and directed toward a member of a gender, racial, religious or social group. Ohio law does not, however, consider hate crimes as stand-alone offenses. Rather, they are considered as factors in determining penalties or sentences for other crimes.
The only Ohio statute that speaks directly to hate crimes is the “ethnic intimidation” provision under the Ohio Revised Code, which prohibits commission of the misdemeanor crimes of aggravated menacing, menacing, criminal damaging, criminal mischief and some types of telephone harassment, when done “by reason of” the race, color, religion or national origin of another person or group of persons. The statute does not currently include any specific reference to crimes motivated by prejudice or intolerance with respect to sexual orientation or gender identification.
LFC Comments: It does not seem that hatred for Trump supporters or threatening them falls under hate crimes.
Unfortunately, the citizens of Lake County are on their own because the chief law enforcement officers, Sheriff Frank Leonbruno, and Prosecutor Charles Coulson, appear to not believe that it is in their job description to meet and educate the Lake County citizens on how they can protect themselves, their families and their property.
We will give Mr. Coulson credit for meeting with Lake County residents a few years ago. We attended a meeting in Painesville where he and some other elected officials (judges and law enforcement) were willing to meet with illegal aliens in Painesville to ensure that they knew their rights while living in the United States and Lake County.
We are wondering if the following video would fall under the menacing rules of the Ohio Revised Code and if the Sheriff and Lake County Police Departments would take preemptive action based on this video?
We will let our readers decide if the leaders in the county will stand up to the DeWine administration, and whether we can count on the Lake County Sheriff’s Department to protect Lake County residents against the Black Lives Matter movement.
Who has our back?
Stay tuned for our next installment of this series. We are still trying to find the solution to how voters can redact their addresses from the voter rolls.
Stay safe, and for those that think taking the Covid-19 vaccine will allow you to return to your “normal” life before this crisis, we believe you will be disappointed.