Destroying another person’s property is never acceptable, but two women in Baltimore are being charged with a hate crime because they set a Trump sign on fire.
D’Asia R. Perry and Joy M. Shuford, who are both 19, were charged with multiple offenses, including second-degree arson and committing a hate crime. Because you know how sensitive an inanimate sign can be.
In the charging documents, a police officer attempted to justify the hate crime charge by writing:
“The intentional burning of these political signs, along with the beliefs, religious views and race of this political affiliation, directly coincides with the victim.”
Caryn L. McMahon, deputy chief fire marshal, said she also felt the hate crime charge was warranted because “in doing so, with discrimination or malice toward a particular group, or someone’s belief.”
The sign in question is located in a shopping center and is owned by Robert Wink, owner of Wink’s Sporting Goods. His son, Jamie, said of the sign which was set alight:
“It’s been a pretty good attention-getter.”
The fire was started on Friday morning, April 15, and spread to surrounding vegetation. Approximately $800 in damage was done by the blaze, according to the local fire marshal.
Authorities were able to determine who was responsible for the fire by reviewing surveillance video from the area. The video footage showed a Volkswagen Beetle with two females inside stop by the sign. A passenger was seen getting out of the car and using a lighter to ignite an advertisement sign near the Trump sign.
Both women were released on an unsecured $20,000 bond.
But here’s the larger issue: Will we now be charging people with hate crimes if they take down a candidate’s yard sign? What if someone dares to put up a larger sign which obscures another one and offends someone? Will we charge someone with a hate crime simply because they disagree with us? This is a very slippery slope.
Again, harming or attempting to destroy another person’s property is never right and is justifiably against the law in every state. But should it be a hate crime?
Featured Image Via NH1