A 27-year-old man in a New Orleans suburb has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly pulling down an abortion clinic’s signs. William Kennedy is accused of pulling metal lettering off the building of Causeway Medical Clinic, an abortion clinic in Metairie, a little after 1 am on August 1.
The Times Picayune reports that police say Kennedy was seen on a surveillance video pulling onto Causeway’s property in his car, climbing out and prying the letters off the building. Louisiana’s hate crimes statute makes it a crime not just to discriminate against someone based on race, color, or creed, but to commit a property crime that is motivated “because of actual or perceived membership or service in, or employment with, an organization.”
That being said, it’s not clear yet what Kennedy’s motivation was for removing the sign; Metairie police told the Times Pic that the case was still under investigation. An employee of the clinic told news station WWL that she believed Kennedy was the same person who’d pulled down another sign on the clinic on May 29, but said she didn’t recognize him as a regular protester.
Simple criminal damage is a misdemeanor; with the hate crimes enhancement Kennedy could face a fine of up to $500 and six months in jail.
Kennedy’s booking photo. Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office via WWL 4