N.C. Hate Crime bill proposing to expand protections to LGBT community

NC's Hate Crime Prevention Act

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A state representative from Charlotte is co-sponsoring a bill to expand the scope and punishment of hate crimes.

Representative Nasif Majeed, of District 99, introduced House Bill 312 - the Hate Crimes Prevention Act - last week in the N.C General Assembly. He says people in the community contacted him to do something about the increasing number of cases of hate crimes.

“Jewish community. The Muslim community. The LGBTQ community,” said Rep. Majeed. “There are a lot of reports of hate crime incidents and we need to put more teeth in the situation.”

Here’s what HB 312 is proposing:

  • It would make it a felony to commit a hate crime that results in serious physical injury to the victim.
  • It would expand the state's current hate crime laws to include sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, ethnicity and disability.
  • The bill also wants the state to create a hate crime database at the SBI.
  • And, mandate training for police and prosecutors.

“All people need to feel safe regardless of religious denomination, their faith practices, their orientation,” said Rep. Majeed. “They need to feel safe and not feel that they are persecuted.”

At Wedgewood Church in Charlotte, they've had to wipe away the writings on the walls. Church leaders say the words of hate were very clear.

"We've actually had people come and tape gun casing shells to the marquis outside the church with all sorts of messages and things like that," said Ezra Fairley-Collins. “Aimed at the LGBT community and aimed at the message of love that we're trying to spread with being a religious institution as well."

Fairley-Collins says he’s hoping the bill becomes law.

“I’m glad they’re making some forward movement in terms of protecting people on the margins,” he said. “My hope is that people would actually implement the bill and it would actually be something that people on the margins in the LGBT community and marginalized religious communities and marginalized ethnic communities would actually see more protections and that it wouldn’t just be something that’s on paper but that is actually something we see put into practice as well.”

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