Select Page

Under a New Law, People Charged With Hate Crimes Are Disproportionately Black and Homeless

dreamstime_xxl_102386619

South Carolina is one of just a few states lacking a hate crime law, so in 2019, Columbia’s city council passed an ordinance to establish one locally. A year later, the results are in: Five of six people to face charges under the ordinance are black, and several are homeless.

“If that is happening, it is an unintended consequence,” Councilman Howard Duvall told The Post and Courier, which reported on the unanticipated results.

In at least two cases, police were called to the scene to deal with homeless people who then referred to the cops using slurs. The victims were the police, according to the paper:

Rickey Smith, another Black man who listed a homeless shelter as his address, was believed to be under the influence of drugs while begging on a street corner along North Main Street on May 12, according to police reports.

While on patrol, the officer saw Smith in the roadway, weaving between cars and slowing evening rush-hour traffic. Smith ran when he saw the officer, according to police reports.

When the officer caught him, the two wrestled to the ground, with Smith accused of balling his hands into fists while atop the officer, police reports say. Reports say he used unidentified racial slurs toward the officer, who is White, and threatened other bystanders. He also allegedly hurled similar slurs and threats at medical staff when taken to the hospital.

Columbia has inadvertently simulated one of the principal problems with hate crime laws: Their enforcement reflects existing societal inequities. Far from preventing some scourge of hate, these well-intended laws typically result in over-incarcerated populations receiving harsher sentences.

This happens by design. Contrary to the imaginations of those who do not understand the First Amendment, it is unconstitutional for the government to outlaw hateful expression on its own. Hate crime laws pass muster because they criminalize speech that maligns a specific protected category—race, sex, sexual orientation, etc.—while a crime is being committed. It is not illegal to use a racial slur, but under a hate crime law, using a racial slur while committing vandalism, assault, or robbery could result in additional charges.

As a result, people who have more encounters with the police in the first place are going to find themselves in situations where hate crime charges could be a factor. This means that hate crime laws, by and large, are not mounting some significant challenge to resurgent white nationalism. Instead, they are often additional penalties for communities that are already worse off. And remember, the authorities have no evidence that the existence of such laws deters hate crimes at all.


This post has been republished with permission from a publicly-available RSS feed found on Reason. The views expressed by the original author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of The Libertarian Hub, its owners or administrators. Any images included in the original article belong to and are the sole responsibility of the original author/website. The Libertarian Hub makes no claims of ownership of any imported photos/images and shall not be held liable for any unintended copyright infringement. Submit a DCMA takedown request.

-> Click Here to Read the Original Article <-

About The Author

Robby Soave

Founded in 1968, Reason is the magazine of free minds and free markets. We produce hard-hitting independent journalism on civil liberties, politics, technology, culture, policy, and commerce. Reason exists outside of the left/right echo chamber. Our goal is to deliver fresh, unbiased information and insights to our readers, viewers, and listeners every day. Visit https://reason.com

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Welcome

Bringing together a variety of news and information from some of today’s most important libertarian thought leaders. All feeds are checked and refreshed every hour and pages auto-refresh every 15 minutes. External images are deleted after 30 days.

Time since last refresh: 0 second

Publish Your Own Article

Follow The Libertarian Hub

 

Support Our Work

Support the Libertarian Hub by tipping with Bitcoin!

Send BTC:
19PU2K7448gKxAvisR5cF6X5RquYfWu5vZ
Weekly Newsletter SignupTop 5 Stories of the Week

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive a weekly email report of the top five most popular articles on the Libertarian Hub!