Press Release

ADL Urges South Carolina to Pass Hate Crimes Law in Wake of Closure of Charleston Massacre Trial

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Says More Empty Vessels Like Dylann Roof Will Inevitably Be Filled With Hate in the Future

New York, NY, January 10, 2017...The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed closure of the federal trial in the Charleston massacre case, which resulted in hate crime convictions against white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof for the murders of parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

The June 2015 murder spree, which killed nine people, was one of the deadliest acts of domestic terrorism of the past 50 years, and one of the deadliest hate crimes in modern U.S. history.

“While we are thankful that justice is being served to this murderer, his trial underscores the need for South Carolina to join 45 other states in passing a hate crimes law,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO.

In the aftermath of the attack, ADL issued a report looking at the state of white supremacy across the country. Roof was a committed white supremacist and anti-Semite who wrote a manifesto outlining his views, yet he never belonged to a white supremacist group or organization.

“Dylann Roof was an impressionable sponge, soaking in hateful content from the vehemently racist website Stormfront and other hate filled platforms,” said Oren Segal, Director of ADL’s Center on Extremism. “In a period of only months, he had imbibed enough of the hateful ideology of the white supremacist movement that he was willing to commit murder to help achieve its twisted aims.

“Extremists from the Alt Right to ISIS are increasingly aware of how to exploit the Internet in order to achieve disproportionate visibility for their messages of hate and violence,” Mr. Segal said. “More empty vessels like Dylann Roof will inevitably be filled with hate in the future.”

In 2015, ADL announced the formation of a campaign to improve legal response to hate crimes across the United States. 50 States Against Hate: An Initiative for Stronger Hate Crime Laws is working toward the passage of hate crime laws in the five states which do not have them, including South Carolina, while simultaneously seeking to improve hate crime reporting and make existing hate crime laws in the other 45 states more inclusive and comprehensive.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.