Maryland Delegate wants to change hate crimes law after fair attack

Maryland Del. Dan Cox is proposing an addition to the hate crimes law after a deadly attack at the Great Frederick Fair.

Del. Cox (R-Frederick), wants to add spitting or otherwise releasing bodily fluids onto someone to the definition of a hate crime in Maryland.

"The purpose of the bill is to provide a dignity for the human body to allow there to be added charges for the prosecution team to say that if someone’s going to take bodily fluids and improperly place them on individuals without their consent in the context of a hate crime, that creates a hate crime itself," said Del. Cox.

Under the current law, a hate crime is defined as a crime done "because of a person's race, color, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, disability, or national origin, or because someone is homeless."

In the attack last Friday that killed John Weed, 59, of Mt. Airy, two teen brothers punched Weed and knocked him out and then at least one of the teens spit on him while he was on the ground.

Some of Del. Cox' colleagues have said changing the law is premature, especially when all the facts about the fair attack are not known.

Frederick County State's Attorney Charlie Smith said so far there is no evidence the attack was a hate crime.

Del. Cox says he plans on introducing his bill to amend the hate crimes law when the General Assembly begins its session in January.