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Attacks on Homeless Could Become Hate Crime

Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) introduced a bill today that would add the homeless to the District's hate crimes statue.

Cheh, who appeared to garner at least a half-dozen co-sponsors for her proposal, noted there have been several unprovoked attacks on the homeless in the District in recent years.

"It is a despicable that some take sport in attacking homeless people," Cheh said.

In April, the Maryland General Assembly approved a bill adding the homeless to that state's hate-crimes statue. Gov. Martin J. O'Malley (D) signed it into law in May.

Maryland became the first state in the nation to extend protections to the homeless under a hate-crimes law.

In the District, the so-called "bias-related crime" act currently prohibits prejudice based on the "actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibility, physical handicap, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim."

--Tim Craig

By Tim Craig  |  June 2, 2009; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Tim Craig  
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