City of Cayce Enacts Hate Crime Ordinance

Unity Against Hate Crimes

City of Cayce Enacts Hate Crime Ordinance

The City of Cayce, South Carolina, voted unanimously on Wednesday to pass a hate crime ordinance in an attempt to address widespread bias and discrimination. This move comes as a significant development given South Carolina’s current status as one of only two states in the U.S. without hate crime legislation in place.

A Movement Against Hate

Councilman Byron Thomas has been pushing for the ordinance since he assumed office. With this new legislation, crimes motivated by prejudice or hate towards any person based on their race, color, religion, ancestry, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, physical or mental disability, and national origin will incur additional penalties over and above the punishment for the primary ordinance violation.

A Call to Other Cities

Thomas called on other South Carolina cities, particularly those in Lexington county, to similarly pass hate crime ordinances. He emphasized the need for legislation at the state level as well, insisting that the state authorities should mirror the efforts being made at the local level.

Protecting Freedoms, Not Restricting Speech

The Cayce Police Chief Chris Cowan defended the ordinance, explaining that it was not an impediment to free speech. Instead, it aims to guard the rights and freedom of all residents, serving primarily as an enforcing tool against hate and bias. The ordinance stresses that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Cayce, underlining the city’s commitment towards fostering an inclusive and safe environment.

The Widespread Issue of Hate Crimes

The most recent U.S. Department of Justice’s study, conducted in 2022, found over 13,000 instances of hate crimes, with a significant majority of these incidents involving bias against race, ethnicity, and ancestry. By implementing this hate crime ordinance, Cayce hopes to substantially reduce such incidents locally and encourage a more accepting society where everyone can freely express their identity without fear of intimidation or prejudice.

Enforcing the Ordinance

The newly passed law serves three significant roles: it communicates a clear message against hate, protects residents’ rights, and serves as an enforcing tool. The enforcement of the ordinance allows judges to impose an additional fine of nearly $1100 and/or thirty days of jail time on top of the sentence for the original crime.

City of Cayce Enacts Hate Crime Ordinance

Author: HERE Irmo

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