CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Mother Emanuel Church shooting, one of Charleston’s worst tragedies, is the inspiration for a bill in the South Carolina Legislature.
“That was a very clear-cut case of hate crime, where individuals lost their lives based on hate,” said Charleston City Councilman Jason Sakran, who represents District Three.
The shooting is one of the reasons Councilman Sakran said he is backing the Clementa C. Pinckney Hate Crimes Act. The bill is named after a former state senator who was one of nine church members shot and killed in the 2015 massacre.
“This bill is in remembrance of Clementa Pinckney and those that died, were murdered. So, for me personally, this is something that we need to do as a city to recognize that this is good for all South Carolinians,” Sakran told News 2.
The councilman said City Council is expected to pass a resolution next week, encouraging Governor Henry McMaster and the General Assembly to adopt the hate crimes bill. It passed in the House of Representatives earlier this month and will now go to the Senate.
The law would enhance penalties for violent crimes where the victim was targeted because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or religion.
“It’s a good thing and South Carolina needs this to become law. I always tell people, 48 other states cannot be wrong,” said Rep. Wendell Gilliard, who serves District 111.
South Carolina and Wyoming are the only states without a hate crime bill.