Forum on hate crimes draws dozens in Anne Arundel County

Posted at 11:17 PM, May 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-30 23:17:54-04

Dozens from around the area came to a forum hosted by the Anne Arundel County NAACP chapter to bring awareness to what's being called a rising hate crime trend.

Leaders, like Revered Stephen Tillett, said it's important for lawmakers, law enforcement and other county leaders to give the community an outlet to ask questions about hate crimes, how they're prosecuted and what criteria are necessary for a crime to be considered one.

"It's frustrating that I have to do this at all. If you think about the great price that was paid, the lives lost, the blood that was spilled decades ago and here we are re-litigating these things again," Tillett told ABC2.

Recent incidents in the area have spurred discussion and debate urging everyone from law enforcement to lawmakers to take action.  Two of those incidents include the discovery of a noose hanging from a window at Crofton Middle School and most recently, the murder of 2nd Lt. Richard Collins III on the campus of The University of Maryland.

Keith Neal attended the forum and said, these crimes are everyone's problem to help solve.

"You sort of get busy in your own little world.  I guess working and what not, but people need to get more involved being aware about what's going on."

The suspects in the noose incident now face hate crime charges.  Investigators are looking into whether Collins' murder was a hate crime.