Noose not hate? Men who hung noose at school not charged with hate crime

Noose not hate? Men who hung noose at school not charged with hate crime

CROFTON, MD (WUSA9) - There’s been an ugly string of racists signs and symbols marring area schools and universities.

Now, the WUSA Special Assignment Unit has learned, the two guys caught hanging a noose at a middle school, could end up being charged with a hate crime.

Our question: Why haven’t they already been charged with a hate crime?

Police have charged Conner Prout and Adam Havermann, both 19, with this disgusting stunt.

Police identified them after investigators released images from surveillance video at the school.

RELATED: Noose found hanging outside Md. middle school

The community was outraged. Over the weekend, hundreds turned out to write messages of support in chalk outside the school.

So when the charges against these two came out, we took a real close look. There's 10 counts, including – race religion property damage and a whole bunch of other small potatoes stuff like trespassing.

You know what’s not on here? A hate crime.

You know why? Because Maryland has a system where a person called a district commissioner can give the thumbs up or thumbs down on charges.

And despite the fact that police and the Anne Arundel states attorney requested these two guys be charged with a hate crime, that district commissioner said there wasn’t enough probable cause.

On Thursday, it looked like the state’s attorney – might try and over rule that decision.

RELATED: Men arrested in noose incident at middle school

After we started asking questions, Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Wes Adams told us "Now that charges have been filed, we will evaluate them and the evidence to determine the sufficiency of the charges, and if any additional charges are merited. This includes deciding whether or not the evidence supports a hate crime."

But here’s the kicker:  Even if the suspects are charged with a hate crime, it will still only be a misdemeanor.

In Maryland, a hate crime is only a felony if it’s against a person, and not property.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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