Murrieta reported one of 7,699 hate crimes in the United States during 2010, according to data released this week by the FBI.
According to Hate Crime Statistics 2010--which is compiled by the FBI after data is submitted by local law enforcement agencies--there were 6,628 criminal incidents involving 7,699 offenses reported as a result of bias toward a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, or physical or mental disability.
The lone incident in Murrieta was motivated by a racial bias, according to Murrieta police Sgt. Dave Baca.
It occurred on Dec. 7, 2010, according to Baca, when a black teenager was walking on a local street.
He was approached by a vehicle when the passenger--a white teenaged male--yelled "White Power!" while leaning out to punch the victim, who landed on the ground, Baca said.
The suspect, who Baca said had had prior dealings with the victim, was initially charged with misdemeanor battery. Baca said the hate crime was added because of the racial epithet.
According to the FBI, nearly half--47.3 percent--of single-bias hate crimes in the U.S. in 2010 were motivated by racial bias. Twenty percent were related to religious bias, 19.3 percent had to do with sexual orientation bias, 12.8 percent were motivated by ethnicity/national origin and .6 percent were bias against a disability.
Nation-wide, hate crimes resulted in seven murders.
Of those who committed hate crimes, 58.6 percent were white and 18.4 percent were black, the FBI reported.
Closer to home in Southwest Riverside County, Temecula reported two hate crimes last year motivated by religious bias. Lake Elsinore and Wildomar reported no hate crimes, nor did Canyon Lake or Menifee. Perris reported two hate crimes motivated by racial bias and Hemet reported none.
Baca, who handles the Murrieta Police Department's juvenile investigations division, said the hate crime was the first he has dealt with in the age group and that crimes of that nature do not occur too often in the city.