Jamiesfeast – South Carolina officials have asked a judge to ask a white couple to leave their home because they supposedly burned a cross near the home of their black neighbors, who are veterans of the military.
On January 26, special prosecutor James Battle filed a motion saying that Worden Butler and Alexis Hartnett, who live in Conway, “harassed, assaulted, and threatened their neighbors and people in the public areas surrounding their home.”
As a temporary measure, Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson has asked the court to declare the suspects’ home a public nuisance.
Ms. Hartnett, 27, and Mr. Butler, 28, were arrested on state harassment charges and later released on bond after Monica and Shawn Williams, their retired neighbors, caught video of the cross being burned near their yard fence over Thanksgiving weekend.
When the shooting happened, the Williams were enjoying the holidays with family gathered around.
According to a police report, Ms. Harett reportedly referred to the Williams siblings in a racial slur while under questioning by officers.
According to the Horry County Police Department, Mr. Butler also posted on Facebook a picture of the victims’ mailbox with their address and wrote, “I’m calling in the devil’s army, and I don’t care if they and I both go down in the same boat.”
South Carolina is one of only two states in the country that doesn’t enforce extra punishments for hate crimes. However, Mr. Richardson has said that state law lets police shut down public nuisances that are a “continuous breach of the peace.”
To keep Mr. Richardson’s request for an order from being granted, Mr. Butler and Ms. Hartnett might have to leave the house for up to a year.
She told WFBM, “It’s a start, and it sends a message to everyone in the South, not just Conway.” “This kind of behavior will not be accepted, and everyone has the right to live in peace and harmony with themselves without discrimination based on skin color.”
Additionally, the FBI has begun its own probe into what happened.
Mr. Butler and Ms. Harnett are scheduled to go to court in March.
According to a decision made by the late Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2003, cross-burnings in the US are “symbols of hate” that are “inextricably linked with the history of the Ku Klux Klan.”
The justices said that cross-burnings can only be illegal when they are done to scare people because they are “a particularly virulent form of intimidation.”