CROFTON, Md. (WJZ) — Symbols of hate may soon come with a price.
The Maryland General Assembly is considering new penalties for hanging nooses and racial graffiti.
There have been a number of racially-charged incidents around the state recently, including swastika graffiti on cars in Lochearn, racist flyers on lawns in Glen Burnie and a noose hung in Patterson Park- but it was a noose at Crofton Middle School that prompted the bill introduced Tuesday.
That incident caused a judge to rule the culprit could not be sentenced for a hate crime because there was no state law to support it.
“He asked the legislature, called the legislature to task to address specifically adding a nose and other hate symbols to hate crimes,” said Anne Arundel County Del. Mark Chang, (D).
That includes hate symbols and graffiti found in Chesapeake High and Middle Schools last year.
Anne Arundel Del. Chang’s bill would make them punishable by fines and jail time. He said these hateful actions have an impact on communities.
“One of the very emotional experiences I had when I was a child, we were coming out to get in our family car, I was about seven-years-old and we looked at the fence on our property and there was a noose hung on there with a dead cat and that’s something that stuck with me for many decades,” Chang said.
The bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee.
Gov. Hogan has additional funding to prevent hate crimes in his new budget- $5 million for increased security measures at schools and places of worship.