Two People Charged with Hate Crime for Burning Trump Sign

Police in Princess Anne County have charged two Baltimore women with a number of offense, from arson to hate crimes, for burning a Trump for President campaign sign in a shopping center on Carole Lane. Authorities say the fire spread to nearby vegetation, but was put out by local fire officials. The damage was estimated at approximately $800.

Under Maryland law, the destruction of a person’s property can constitute a hate crime. However, the statute specifically says that, when the property belongs to an individual, the destruction must be based on one of the following characteristics of the victim: race, color, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability, national origin or status as homeless. An attorney for the defendants says the women accept responsibility for the arson/destruction of property, but believe that the hate crime allegation is without merit, as the victim does not fall into one of the stated categories, and the women had a protected First Amendment right to free speech to state their political opinions.

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