Charleston police have arrested and charged an 18-year-old woman accused of vandalizing the Islamic Center of Charleston on King Street. The offender, downtown resident Hailey Elizabeth Riddle, was charged with "malicious injury to a place of worship," according to a news release.
Officers were alerted on Jan. 31 that the building had been defaced with graffiti reading, "Utterly blessed." This was preceded by another instance of vandalism to the same building in the early morning hours of Jan. 19. Asked if there is any connection between Riddle and the Jan. 19 vandalism, police spokesperson Charles Francis said, "The investigation is ongoing."
This is not being investigated as a hate crime, according to Francis.
While Charleston has a hate crime ordinance in place, South Carolina remains one of the few states in the U.S. that does not have a hate crime law.