Minot — Back in June I noted that, as the first anniversary of Fargo’s hate crime ordinance was looming, it had resulted in precisely zero convictions.
At the time, just one individual had been charged under the ordinance. Now April Baumgarten reports that this individual, a Lake Park, Minnesota, man named Wesley Jensen, has been acquitted.
The charges against Jensen stemmed from a bar fight during which admits he uttered an anti-gay epithet. That’s what got him the hate crime charge, a class B misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine.
Jensen, who represented himself, argued before the court that, during the fight, he was acting in self-defense and that he used the epithet without any knowledge that the person he aimed it at was, in fact, gay.
That was enough reasonable doubt for the jury.