COVINGTON — Police have boosted patrols in a bar district in Northern Kentucky's largest city following attacks that appeared to target gays.
Two people suffered slash wounds, and two others had minor injuries in an Aug. 14 knife attack at a gas station in which anti-gay epithets were yelled at the victims, police said.
Police said they will start tracking incidents of ethnic and anti-gay slurs and hate speech, The Kentucky Enquirer reported. Also, a group of residents has formed "Zero Tolerance for Hate Crimes in Covington" and will host an event at six bars in MainStrasse on Saturday to raise money for an anti-hate campaign.
"We have had three incidents in the last several months, and it has got to stop now," said Mayor Denny Bowman.
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Recent crimes spurred the Covington City Commission and more than 80 people to gather Tuesday at city hall to denounce hate crimes and reaffirm support for the human rights ordinance passed in 2003. The ordinance prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
City Commissioner Shawn Masters said he moved to Covington partly because of its diversity, and he said he is proud that the city has a human rights ordinance.
"I'm not proud of the fact we are here because of a certain incident that happened recently, but I think it is a good opportunity to reaffirm where this city stands," Masters said.
Police Chief Lee Russo said two additional officers recently were assigned to the MainStrasse beat during peak hours. Also, the two patrol officers who roam throughout the city are focusing on MainStrasse, Russo said.
The police also want people to report slurs and hate speech to police so it can be tracked, Russo said.