Myrtle Beach Human Rights Commission takes steps to crack down on hate crimes

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 7:33 AM EST
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Human Rights Commission hopes to get the ball rolling on two hate crime proposals to send to the city council.

South Carolina is just one of two states without a hate crime law after multiple failed attempts over the last few years.

Several lawmakers have already filed bills this year pushing for harsher penalties, and the Myrtle Beach Human Rights Commission wants to pass a resolution urging state lawmakers to pass those bills.

Terry Livingston, Myrtle Beach Human Rights Commissioner, said it will take our entire community to get lawmakers’ attention.

“Publicity of the city, a bigger voice sending a message to the state house, I think that will also encourage viewers in this area to reach out to their contacts in the state house and say, hey let’s get something done this year. Let’s not just talk about it and not act. Let’s actually pass a law,” said Livingston.

The Human Rights Commission also wants to pass a hate intimidation ordinance.

The ordinance will make hate crimes in Myrtle Beach a misdemeanor.

Those convicted of the crime will also face a $500 fine, 30 days in jail and could have to pay damages.

Livingston said the ordinance also requires police to report any hate crimes to the FBI.

“We do need accurate data on hate crime because it’s just voluntary to report to the FBI. So, adding an ordinance would make it a part of the city police policy if there is a hate crime to mark it as such and escalate it to the FBI,” said Livingston.

If the proposals get a majority vote, the commission will send them over to city council.

The Human Rights Commission meets at city hall Wednesday, January 19 at 4:30 p.m.