Hate crime enforcement during Trump administration examined

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The Guardian (United Kingdom) —An article examining the possible effect of Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as U.S. attorney general on hate crime enforcement, from the perspective of Judy Shepard, whose son was brutally beaten and killed because he was gay, included comments from Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

At present, Levin said, compliance with reporting hate crimes varies wildly.

“Hawaii doesn’t participate at all because it doesn’t want to. And to make matters more confusing, some states come out with individual hate crimes reports that don’t match the FBI statistics. In 2015, Maryland, for example, recorded 203 hate crimes. But the FBI reported 41 for the state.”

There’s something else, perhaps even more disturbing.

Levin says the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 specifically requires the US attorney general (or his hand-picked designee) to approve of each prosecution under the act. “And we’re getting an AG who tried to block the act multiple times, and even went on the floor of the Senate to argue against it,” Levin says. “He was arguably its most vehement opponent. I’m very concerned that lack of enforcement will eviscerate the statute’s effectiveness.”

The article was published Feb. 16, 2017.

Read the complete article at Her son was lynched for being gay. Now her fight for justice is at risk from Trump.”

 

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