ALS Ice Bucket Prank Investigation Wraps Up, As Ohio Lawmaker Seeks To Expand Hate Crimes Law

Still from the infamous 'prank' video against an autistic boy; Bay Village Police car by flickr.com's Raymond Wambsgan
Still from the infamous 'prank' video against an autistic boy; Bay Village Police car by flickr.com's Raymond Wambsgan
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Since it appeared on social media a few weeks ago, the video’s drawn local and global condemnation. An autistic 14-year-old boy – thinking he’s doing the ALS ice bucket challenge – instead gets drenched with feces, urine, and spit by classmates.

Bay Village Police say they’ll send their findings to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office early next week. Charges against five of the victim’s classmates will then be determined on the evidence gathered.

Many people and groups want the act considered a hate crime, including the Autistic Self Advocacy Network based in the DC area. Julia Bascom is its Director of Programs.

“The definition of a “hate crime” is a crime that’s motivated by prejudice against an individual in a marginalized category. This wouldn’t have happened to an individual who didn’t have a disability."

But Bascom says Ohio’s hate crime law only covers race, ethnicity, and national origin.

That’s something Democratic State Representative Nickie Antonio of Lakewood aims to fix, with House Bill 300. She says it would extend protection for other marginalized groups.

“Disability, gender identity, and sexual orientation," explains Antonio. "I wanted to make sure that Ohio’s law was more comprehensive. People who perpetrate these kinds of crimes, send a message that you -- and all the people in your category -- should be on high alert now.”

Antonio says the bill needs to move out of committee and presented to the state senate next. She’s hopeful her legislation will pass in light of the uproar surrounding the Bay Village prank.

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