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Cross-burning renews calls for South Carolina hate-crime law

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — A cross-burning incident in Horry County over the Thanksgiving weekend has attracted the attention of the nation’s largest Muslum civil rights and advocacy organization, which, along with the NAACP, is calling for South Carolina to adopt a hate-crimes law.

A spokesman for The Council on American-Islamic Relations, also known as CAIR, called the incident “deeply disturbing.”

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“We urge lawmakers to take action to join the rest of the nation in passing such legislation,” Ibrahim Hooper, the group’s national communications director, said in a news release.

Hooper noted that CAIR has previously supported the proposed Clementa C. Pickney Hate Crime Law, which South Carolina lawmakers have tried to pass for the past three years. Wyoming is the other other state without such a law.

The proposed legislation is named for Clementa Pinckney, a state senator and pastor who was one of nine people killed in a June 2015 racist attack at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Horry County police charged Alexis Paige Hartnett, 27, and Worden Evander Butler, 28, both of Conway, after the cross-burning and other alleged incidents of racial harassment of their neighbors. They are both charged with second-degree harassment charges, according to online records for the J. Reuben Long Detention Center. Hartnett is also facing a third-degree assault and battery charge filed by Conway police.

Horry County Chief Joseph Hill on Thursday called the incident “appalling and unacceptable” and said it will not be tolerated in Horry County.

Earlier this week, a spokesperson for the NAACP South Carolina State Conference of Branches said in a statement to News13 that “citizens cannot turn a blind eye to the prevalence of racial discrimination and hate crimes.”

“These heinous acts not only harm individuals but also spread intolerance and division, tearing apart the fabric of our society,” the spokesperson said. “We must stand together to take a strong and unwavering stance against such behavior, ensuring that the safety and well-being of all community members are protected.“

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Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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