SYMBOLIC LEGISLATION: WHY FEDERAL HATE CRIME LEGISLATION SHOULD MANDATE CHARGING OF RACIALLY MOTIVATED HATE CRIMES

On the evening of June 17, 2015, Daniel Roof, a white 21-year-old, entered the Emanuel
AME Church with the intent to start a “race war.”3 Roof spent nearly an hour at the historic
African-American church before opening fire and killing nine innocent people attending their
weekly bible study.4 Upon the learning of this tragedy, details about who exactly Roof was were
quickly released via various media outlets. Roof’s Facebook photo showed him wearing a jacket
with apartheid-era South African and Rhodesian flag patches, and his friends and neighbors
revealed his deep hate for blacks, Jews, and Hispanics.5 Evidence also indicated Roof’s deadly
plan was 6 months in the making.