Baltimore police have charged two teens with committing a hate crime after they started a blaze at a local business Friday morning. The fire allegedly caused $800 in damage.
Ever since Donald Trump was elected, hate crimes have spiked — especially those involving Nazis or other white supremacists. But this is not one of “those” crimes. The people who lit the blaze did so in opposition to Donald Trump. Here is a photo of the massive damage they did:
— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) April 18, 2017
While the second-degree arson, trespassing, and malicious destruction of property charges with which D’Asia R. Perry and Joy M. Shuford (both African-American women) are perfectly reasonable given the circumstances, Princess Anne police stacked on a rather puzzling additional charge: committing a hate crime:
The charges include several straightforward counts of arson, trespassing and destruction of property. But they also state that the “intentional burning of these political signs, along with the beliefs, religious views and race of this political affiliation, directly coincides with that of the victim” and an allegation that the defendants “did burn an object on the personal property of Robert Wink because of said victim’s race and religious beliefs based on the victim’s political values.” An official in the fire marshal’s office explained the charge to The Sun’s Jessica Anderson as demonstrating “discrimination or malice toward a particular group, or someone’s belief.”
Perry and Shuford, of course, could not reasonably be assumed to know the store owner’s race, religious views, or even the sign owner’s political affiliation — and, of course, the reality is that police already have information proving they did not. The Baltimore Sun reports that the two teens were driving along the road when they saw the large Trump sign. They joked about tearing it down and ultimately tried, but it was securely attached. Shuford then got out a lighter and set it on fire.
Since this was a chance encounter that didn’t involve the owner until after-the-fact (making his race, religion, etc. irrelevant), we just have two people who made some mischief because they disagree with the President. Maryland’s hate crime statute does not include political affiliation at all. But this is Trump’s America, motherfucker!
So…What does this mean? The Sun puts it very succinctly:
The only way to make any sense of this charge is to assume that anyone who is a minority (as both Ms. Shuford and Ms. Perry are) who dislikes President Trump must then automatically hate white people and Christians. Put another way, the Princess Anne police evidently think that to be a Trump supporter is synonymous with being white and Christian.
This was an act of political vandalism. Pretty much everyone who has run for office in the history of ever has found at least one campaign sign destroyed. It’s a crime, but not a hate crime — It’s that simple.
Featured image via screengrab