Weather Data Source: South Carolina Weather

North Charleston Police Charge Teen with Wearing a Mask

Police arresting teen peacefully.

North Charleston Police Charge Teen with Wearing a Mask

The North Charleston police have recently arrested and charged a teenager for wearing a mask, an act in violation of a decades-old state law. Jabarie Coleman, an 18-year-old local from North Charleston, was unaware that his act of donning a mask could have such serious implications. It seems that a future in the U.S. Marine Corps, an ambition he held close to his heart, now hangs in balance due to these charges.

The Event

On February 7, Coleman was apprehended while wearing a mask that partially hid his face. He was suddenly surrounded by police officers who were responding to a large fight nearby. Although Coleman maintains he was merely trying to help his siblings avoid the skirmish, the police officers’ account differs greatly. He was soon arrested and charged with ‘wearing masks and the like’, a term from an established state law.

The Law and its Implications

South Carolina, along with many other American states, adopted anti-mask laws between the 1920s and 1950s. Initially, these laws were introduced to prevent Ku Klux Klan members from using white hoods as a means of disguise while they terrorized African Americans. However, the law today, according to experts, serves minimal purpose and ironically targets the communities it intended to protect. Violation of this law is classified as a misdemeanor, which could lead to a $500 fine and up to a year in prison.

Does the Law Really Serve its Purpose?

With the exception of a few cases, law enforcement officers use the mask law stringently. Data from circuit courts across South Carolina reveals that the charge has appeared only 218 times in the past four decades. Of these, nearly 120 defendants were young black men, and the majority of the cases were accompanied by other charges such as armed robbery or illegal possession of a gun. Interestingly, of the approximately 200 cases that reached a conclusion, almost 70% were dismissed. Given these statistics, some raise the question of the relevance and intent behind enforcing the mask law today.

Impact on the Charged

For young individuals like Coleman, these charges imply more than just a temporary inconvenience. His aspirations to join the military stand halted until his charges are resolved. He has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, a charge filed in North Charleston’s municipal court. However, his other two charges are yet to be decided. Until then, his future remains uncertain.

Concluding Remarks

Incidents like these highlight the necessity for continued examination and amendment of our existing laws, ensuring they serve their intended purpose without unjustly harming innocent lives. It is imperative not only to consider the letter of the law but also the spirit in which it was adopted. A judgment without context is no judgment at all.

North Charleston Police Charge Teen with Wearing a Mask Spartanburg SC

Leave a Reply


Recent Posts

Featured Business

Featured Neighborhood

Sign up for our Newsletter

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit