From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
March 3, 2000
Contact: Jeremy Warren, (512) 463-0113

Senator Rodney Ellis Condemns Pennsylvania Hate Crimes

AUSTIN, TX -- State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) today condemned the apparent racially motivated murders of three Whites in Pennsylvania this week. Senator Ellis stated that the murders, allegedly committed by Ronald Taylor, an African American, were further proof that more needs to be done to combat hatred.

"Hatred has no bounds. It's an equal opportunity destroyer," said Senator Ellis. "If these killings were racially motivated, it's just further proof that hatred can be a strong motivation for violence, no matter the victim's race, color, disability, religion, national origin or sexual orientation."

Taylor was arraigned on hate crime charges yesterday after witnesses reported that he singled out three Whites in shootings at two different locations in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania on Wednesday. Investigators later found anti-White and anti-Jewish writings in Taylor's apartment.

"Acts of hatred are not limited to minorities," said Senator Ellis. "In Texas, approximately one-in-six hate crimes are directed at Whites. In fact, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding state hate crime laws originated from a case involving a group of African American men who severely beat a White youth.

"I applaud the prosecutors' efforts to punish hate and set an example for the rest of Pennsylvania, and the nation," said Senator Ellis.

(Rodney Ellis is one of two African American Texas State Senators and represents District 13 in Houston. He passed the first Texas hate crime statute in 1993. Last session he fought unsuccessfully to pass the James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crime Act to conform Texas law with language upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. He will re-file similar legislation in 2001.)