Felonies, unlike almost all misdemeanors, carries penalties that can result in permanent removal of Constitutional rights. While in the United States “hate speech” or expressions of animus against people based on some protected class due to the 1st Amendment still being a thing, criminal enhancements are legal and can even turn a minor misdemeanor into a felony. Case in point: A “burnout” leaving tire marks on the road is a felony when that road is rainbow colored.
“On Monday, Jerich was seen by witnesses, and recorded on a cellphone, doing what appeared to be an intentional ‘burnout’ with his vehicle over the LGBTQ pride crosswalk at the intersection of NE 1st Street and NE 2nd Avenue.
“This caused the vehicle to create significant damage to the streetscape painting.
“‘Kudos to the Delray Beach Police Department for swiftly identifying and arresting this hateful criminal,’ said PBCHRC [Palm Beach County Human Rights Council] President and Founder Rand Hoch. ‘PBCHRC has requested the charges include defacing a memorial — a recently enacted law which would require this crime to be treated as a felony. If convicted of this offense, the perpetrator would be responsible for reimbursing the City of Delray Beach for the cost of repairing the damages in addition the severe penalties for committing a felony’”
Now, motive and animus are indeed things that ought to be considered when it comes to a trial and, if convicted, sentencing. However it becomes concerning when an expression of “H8” basically makes it a completely different crime and even level of crime. The only difference between the two is the expression of “H8” which is in and of itself Constitutionally protected, thus surreptitiously making “H8” speech a crime by hiding it as an “enhancement”.
To make matters worse, the application of such laws laws in regards to “animus” is not content neutral, with “some… more equal than others”. How many statues and memorials in New York were defaced or torn down by mobs in the past year and a half? How many prosecutions didn’t have any enhancement even though the vandals were brimming with racial hatred, assuming the city bothered to prosecute anyone? Yet vandalizing a statue of George Floyd will result in vigorous punishment.
It is this unequal application of the law that demonstrates best why such “enhanced” charges, and it also demonstrates who has actual “systemic privilege and power”.
There is no better demonstration of this than the Portland police assuring people, in the clear hopes of avoiding yet another riot, that the person a police officer shot was just a White person, and thus isn’t worth rioting over.
We are in the early stages of the investigation. PPB appreciates the community’s patience as we gather information. @ChiefCLovell is on scene.
— Portland Police (@PortlandPolice) June 25, 2021
Hmmm, “prejudice” and “power”… I’m pretty sure that the Left has a word for that.