It’s follows the deadly assault at the Great Frederick Fair.
An amendment to Maryland’s hate crimes law is being proposed by Frederick County Delegate Dan Cox (R-District 4, Frederick & Carroll Counties).
He says he came up with the idea after seeing the video of the assault of John Weed of Mount Airy last Friday at the Great Frederick Fair. “It was absolutely despicable. It made me feel sick,” Cox says. “It was disgusting to see a gentlemen attacked. And after being hit to the ground, a group of people danced around him.”
No one should be treated this way, he says. “I don’t think anybody will in any way wish to have people intentionally throw or spit or smear or spray upon anything, bodily fluid or excrement or any fluid or solids,” Cox says.
The amendment, called the John Weed Dignity Act, would add age, ethnicity, speech, or refusal to donate money or pay anyone money or any tangible thing, or because the other person is homeless as protected classes under the Maryland hate crimes law. . In addition, it would be a crime to intentionally throw, spit, place, smear, eject, or otherwise touch, or attempt to do any of the same, any bodily fluids or excrement or fluids or solids upon any persons.
Currently, the hate crimes law covers race, color, religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, disability or national origin.
Police say Mr. Weed was assault several times by two teenage boys 15 and 16-years of age last Friday evening at the Fair. Weed was medivaced to Shock Trauma where he died late Saturday afternoon. The two teenagers are charged with assault in this incident, but prosecutors could file other charges. The youths remain incarcerated at a juvenile detention center.
Both youths used their fists to punch Mr. Weed. “In this case, the question arose whether or not Mr. Weed was targeted because of his race, but instead because he wouldn’t give a dollar. At least that’s the report I saw,” says Cox.
Mr. Weed was white, and the two teenagers are black, according to a Sheriff’s Office news release about the incident.
Right now, Cox says the bill is still being put together. “It’s still in the drafting the stage. So if people have suggestions for amendments or changes at this point, I’m open to that, obviously. The lawyers in Annapolis are assisting me in finalizing the final draft at this point,” he says.
The filing deadline is in November.
Cox also says this incident should not reflect negatively on the Great Frederick Fair. “If that’s what happening in Frederick County, that’s not indicative of the Frederick Fair at all. I take my family there every year. We;re going to do that again,” he says. “The Frederick Fair is a magnificent and wonderful annual event for all of Frederick. This is not normal for the Fair.”
By Kevin McManus