The Rockville City Police Department (RCPD) recognizes that we are living in turbulent times across the country and the globe. All acts of hatred, bias, and bigotry are unacceptable. A hate crime is any crime motivated in whole or in part by bias, prejudice, or bigotry; however, as despicable as it may be, not all hate is a crime. A hate incident is often involving a person making non-threatening bigoted, biased, or prejudiced comments to another individual based on race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, age, or other personal characteristics. It also can involve a person displaying a non-threatening, bigoted, biased, or prejudiced message or image in certain contexts. Although deeply hurtful and offensive, hate incidents do not violate criminal law.
What to Do if You Believe that You are the Victim of, or Witness a Hate Crime or Bias-Related Incident
- Dial 9-1-1 in an emergency.
- In a non-emergency, dial 240-314-8900 to contact the Rockville City Police.
- For your own safety do not take it upon yourself to confront perpetrators.
- Do not clean up or destroy any evidence related to the crime until after the police arrive and investigate.
- Ask the police what services are available to you.
The Rockville City Police Department investigates and collects data on both hate crimes and bias-related incidents. If you are a victim of an incident that occurred in Rockville, please notify the Rockville City Police Department at 240-314-8900. If the incident occurred in another jurisdiction, please contact the local police department in that jurisdiction.
REMEMBER – IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING
What Constitutes a Hate Crime Under Maryland Law?
The hate crimes statute, located in the Annotated Code of Maryland, Criminal Law Article sections 10-301 through 10-308, states that a person may not:
- Commit a crime that is motivated either in whole or substantial part by another person’s or group’s race, color, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, homelessness, or disability.
- Deface, damage or destroy or attempt or threaten to deface, damage, destroy, or burn the property of a person or group based on their race, color, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, homelessness or disability.
- By force or threat of force, obstruct or attempt to obstruct another in the free exercise of that person’s religious beliefs.
- Deface, damage or destroy property that is owned, leased, or used by a religious entity.
- Deface, damage, destroy, or attempt or threaten to deface, damage, destroy or burn an object on real or personal property connected to a building that is publicly or privately owned, leased or used, because a person or group of a particular race, color, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, homelessness or disability has contacts or is associated with the building
- Deface, damage, destroy or attempt or threaten to deface, damage, destroy or burn an object on property connected to a building that is publicly or privately owned leased or used, if there is evidence that exhibits animosity against a person or group because of the person or groups race, color, national origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, homelessness or disability.
- With the intent to intimidate or threaten any person or group of persons, place or inscribe an item or symbol including an actual or depicted noose or swastika, whether temporary or permanent, on any real or personal property, public or private, without the express permission of the owner, owner’s agent or lawful occupant.
- First Amendment Rights Protected: nothing in this subsection may be construed to infringe on speech of a religious leader or other individual during peaceable activity intended to express the leader’s or individual’s religious beliefs or convictions.
Chart Of Penalties
If a person commits a crime motivated by any of the factors above, they can be charged with a hate crime. This carries a penalty in addition to the penalty for the crime committed.
Up to 3 Years in Prison and/or a $5,000 Fine
Up to 10 Years in Prison and/or a $10,000 Fine
Crime Resulting in Death
Up to 20 Years in Prison and/or a $20,000 Fine
What is a Bias-Related Incident in Maryland?
A bias-related Incident is an incident that may be motivated by race, color, national origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, homelessness or disability but is different than a hate crime because it does not rise to the level of a criminal offense. For example: name calling, hateful speech, or derogatory language may be offensive and inappropriate but may not rise to the level of a crime.