CROFTON, MARYLAND (WUSA9) - Two 19-year old’s accused of hanging a noose outside a middle school have now been charged with a hate crime.
The Anne Arundel County District Commissioner initially refused to charge Conner Prout and Adam Havermann with the hate crime recommended by police and the state’s attorney’s office, after they were identified in surveillance video hanging a noose outside Crofton Middle School on May 11th.
Friday, Kevin Kane, spokesman for the Maryland administrative office of the courts, said the district commissioner felt that hate crime recommended by police after consulting with the state’s attorney, was the wrong charge.
“Law enforcement requested a charge under CR 10-304 Harassment: Destruction of Property, Kane wrote in an email to the WUSA 9 Special Assignment Unit. “That statute prohibits an act against a “person” as opposed to an institution or property. The Commissioner chose instead to issue the charge under CR10-305 – Damages to Associated Buildings. That statute prohibits acts against, inter alia, schools. Both statutes are considered “Hate Crimes.”
That hate crime is still a misdemeanor, however, since it’s not an act of violence against a person.
Here’s the way the definitions of the two crimes read, starting with the one suggested by police and rejected by the district commissioner.
§ 10-304. Crimes; destruction of property
Because of another's race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin, or because another is homeless, a person may not:
(1)(i) commit a crime or attempt to commit a crime against that person;
(ii) damage the real or personal property of that person;
(iii) deface, damage, or destroy, or attempt to deface, damage, or destroy the real or personal property of that person; or
(iv) burn or attempt to burn an object on the real or personal property of that person; or
(2) commit a violation of item (1) of this section that:
(i) except as provided in item (ii) of this item, involves a separate crime that is a felony; or
(ii) results in the death of the victim.
§ 10-305. Damage to associated building
A person may not deface, damage, or destroy, attempt to deface, damage, or destroy, burn or attempt to burn an object on, or damage the real or personal property connected to a building that is publicly or privately owned, leased, or used, including a cemetery, library, meeting hall, recreation center, or school:
(1) because a person or group of a particular race, color, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin, or because a person or group that is homeless, has contacts or is associated with the building; or
(2) if there is evidence that exhibits animosity against a person or group, because of the race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin of that person or group or because that person or group is homeless.
© 2017 WUSA-TV