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Hate crimes rise, St. Petersburg leads the way

By Times Staff Writer
Published December 28, 2005

The number of reported hate crimes went up sharply in Florida in 2004, a study released by Attorney General Charlie Crist Wednesday shows.

And St. Petersburg was leading the way with 49 incidents, most of any Florida city and the majority of Pinellas' 63 reported cases, according to the study.

St. Petersburg Police said the city's number was inflated by a night of civil disturbances May 12 of that year, when one man was beaten and several others had rocks thrown at them as hundreds of residents protested the killing of a black man by sheriff's deputies. In those cases, most of the hate crime victims were white, police said.

Police have scheduled a 2 p.m. news conference to further discuss the report.

Statewide, a total of 334 hate crimes was reported, up 21.5 percent from the previous year. Other Florida counties with the highest number of reported hate crimes: Alachua, 39; Broward, 37; Hillsborough, 27; and Palm Beach, 19.

[Last modified December 28, 2005, 12:51:02]

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