Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–3312.02. Defacing or burning cross or religious symbol; display of certain emblems.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to burn, desecrate, mar, deface, or damage a religious or secular symbol on any private premises or property in the District of Columbia primarily used for religious, educational, residential, memorial, charitable, or cemetery purposes, or for assembly by persons of a particular race, color, creed, religion, or any other category listed in § 2-1401.01, or on any public property in the District of Columbia; or to place or to display in any of these locations a sign, mark, symbol, emblem, or other physical impression including, but not limited to, a Nazi swastika, a noose, or any manner of exhibit which includes a burning cross, real or simulated, where it is probable that a reasonable person would perceive that the intent is:

(1) To deprive any person or class of persons of equal protection of the law or of equal privileges and immunities under the law, or for the purpose of preventing or hindering the constituted authorities of the United States or the District of Columbia from giving or securing to all persons within the District of Columbia equal protection of the law;

(2) To injure, intimidate, or interfere with any person because of his or her exercise of any right secured by federal or District of Columbia laws, or to intimidate any person or any class of persons from exercising any right secured by federal or District of Columbia laws;

(3) To threaten another person whereby the threat is a serious expression of an intent to inflict harm; or

(4) To cause another person to fear for his or her personal safety, or where it is probable that reasonable persons will be put in fear for their personal safety by the defendant’s actions, with reckless disregard for that probability.

(b) Repealed.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to amend or repeal any provision of the District of Columbia Fire Prevention Code (7 DCRR).


(Mar. 10, 1983, D.C. Law 4-203, § 3, 30 DCR 180; May 15, 2009, D.C. Law 17-390, § 2, 55 DCR 11030.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-3112.2.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-3312.04 and § 23-581.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-390 rewrote the lead-in language and par. (3) of subsec. (a) and repealed subsec. (b).