Spurred by the recent vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Wissinoming, Councilman Kenyatta Johnson introduced a bill Thursday that would increase the penalties for Ethnic Intimidation and Institutional Vandalism under the Philadelphia Code.
Johnson's proposal would make each act of ethnic intimidation or institutional vandalism a separate offense "including each act of vandalizing an individual headstone or grave marker," the proposed bill changes read.
"I aim with these proposed changes to clarify that under each of these gravestones was an individual deserving of respect and protection," Johnson said in a statement.
Penalties include a fine of $2,000 and up to 30 days in prison upon a third offense.
>>Click here for complete coverage of vandalism at the cemetery
On Sunday, about 100 headstones were reported toppled at Mount Carmel Cemetery, a Jewish burial ground at the corner of Frankford and Cheltenham Avenues. The incident made headlines worldwide following a similar incident in suburban St. Louis, Mo., the previous week.
"There is simply no place for anti-Semitism or any other type of hate in the City of Philadelphia, and I hope that this legislation will make the City's position clear to all who would seek to intimidate our citizens," Johnson said in his statement.