(JTA) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney signed into law an ethnic intimidation bill introduced after the vandalism of about 175 headstones at a local cemetery.
The Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism bill signed last week, says that fines for desecrating objects will be applied to each individual act of vandalizing a headstone, grave marker or gravesite, according to the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.
The fine for damaging just one headstone is $2,000. For a third violation, vandals can be imprisoned for 30 days.
The bill was introduced by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, in an effort to amend the city ordinance dealing with hate crimes. It applies to all cemeteries in Philadelphia.
He told the Exponent that he introduced the bill “to send a clear message that these hate crimes will not be tolerated.”
“We should not be dealing with any forms of hate and discrimination. Those who engage in these types of acts are cowards,” he also said.