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Hate Crime Results in Potential New Legislation

A tragic event occurred on the campus of the University of Maryland in 2017. A newly commissioned Black Army lieutenant who was preparing to graduate from a neighboring college (Bowie State University) was fatally stabbed. The assailant had ties to white-supremacist organizations and norms (e.g. Alt-Reich).

Surprisingly, alcohol rather than racism served as the basis for this case’s first-degree murder conviction. It was noted that “hate crime” charges are hard to meet because of stringent legal standards.

Per the Anti-Defense League, “Requiring prosecutors to prove that hate or bias was the sole motivating factor underlying crime is an extremely high standard…”

Years later, a new bill named after the victim (2nd Lt. Richard Collins) allows a person to be charged with a hate crime if they were motivated “in whole or in part” by another person’s race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender…” or other identified criteria. Similar legislation and language have also been adopted by other California, Tennessee, & Wisconsin.

---Dr. Geoffrey Johnson

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