City of Cayce Passes Hate Crime Ordinance

Diverse community unity concept

City of Cayce Passes Hate Crime Ordinance

The City of Cayce in South Carolina made history this Wednesday, approving a hate crime ordinance, becoming an example for other South Carolina cities and towns.

A Landmark Decision

In a commendable move towards eradicating crimes motivated by hate, the City of Cayce approved a comprehensive hate crime ordinance in a unanimous vote. The much-needed step addresses the absence of such legislation in the State of South Carolina, one of the two states lacking such law in the United States. Councilman Byron Thomas spearheaded the initiative since he assumed office.

Emphasizing the Diversity of the City

The ordinance recognizes the City as a diverse collective of individuals covering multiple ethnicities, races, creeds, religions, sexual orientations, genders, gender identities, disabilities, and national origins. The law categorically condemns crimes arising from bias or hate towards any person owing to their perceived or actual race, religion, sexual orientation, or other individual characteristics.

Voicing Out Against Hate Crimes

Councilman Byron Thomas while talking on the new ordinance emphasized the commitment of the city of Cayce towards countering hate crimes. He urged the state lawmakers to consider passing similar legislation, stating, “While cities and towns are doing their job on a local level — the state needs to as well.” He added, “I encourage other Lexington County cities in South Carolina to pass a hate crime ordinance so that their citizens know that love will rule in their city and hate has no place.”

A Solid Step Forward

Chris Cowan, Cayce’s police chief, hailed the ordinance as a vehicle for fostering open communication between residents and law enforcement. Underlining the necessity of such legislation, he said, “This is not a matter of withholding free speech but protecting it.”

The latest study by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2022 suggested that more than 13,000 individuals became victims of hate crimes, with over half of them being related to bias in terms of race, ethnicity, or ancestry. Councilman Byron Thomas firmly stated that such discrimination must not be tolerated.

Considerations of the Ordinance

Police Chief Chris Cowan outlined three critical considerations of the new ordinance. First, it sends out a clear message that Cayce will not tolerate hate. Second, it safeguards the freedoms of residents. Third, it provides law enforcement with an additional tool. He expressed concern, saying, “The fear that I have, is that people are looking for us to create a document that says this is what hate is and this is what it’s not, people know what hate is, and we have too much of it.”

Cowan also highlighted that the new ordinance empowers a judge to add an additional fine of up to $1,100 and/or a sentence of 30 days imprisonment over the primary sentence for the crime committed.

City of Cayce Passes Hate Crime Ordinance

Author: HERE Irmo

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