Hate Crimes: their Nature and the Laws Connected with them
Hate crimes are crimes based on prejudice that occur when an individual targets someone else because of their race, religion, and sexual orientation or another group they may belong to. The FBI?s Civil Rights program has hate crimes as their highest priority because of the crushing impact they have on families and communities. The Bureau investigates hundreds of these cases every year and works to detect and deter further incidents through law enforcement training, public outreach, and partnerships with community groups (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016). Among the 8,437 hate crime offenses reported 60.3% were crimes against persons, 36.9% were crimes against property and 2.8% were crimes against society (The United States Department of Justice 2018). Even though state laws depend on the state there are current statutes that allow federal prosecution of hate crimes committed on the basis of a person’s race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability. The FBI has been investigating what we now call hate crimes from about 1914 with the start of World War I (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016). They became even more involved when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed. Before that the federal government has the impression that protection of civil rights was a local function as opposed to a federal one. Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney were murdered near Philadelphia, Mississippi, in June 1964. Their murders promoted a higher federal effort to protect and foster civil rights for African Americans. MIBURN was the name of the case. This name stood for Mississippi Burning which became the largest federal investigation ever conducted in Mississippi. On October 20, 1967 seven men were convicted of conspiring to violate the constitutional rights of the slain civil rights workers (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016). All seven were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to ten years.
Types of Hate Crimes
One type is thrill-seeking where the perpetrators who are often young white men seek excitement and to show dominance by terrorizing members of minority groups they consider inferior (McCoy 2018). There are retaliatory hate crimes, to pay back a group for some alleged transgression as well as a third type that consists of mission hate crimes, which are carried out by people so devoted to hatred that it becomes a career(McCoy 2018). The “defensive” category crimes are committed by people who believe they are protecting themselves or their territory from perceived outsiders (McCoy 2018). The Perpetrator?s motives can sometimes also be mixed. Hate crimes can vary depending on the type of offense as well as person. A person’s race, ethnicity or nationality either their actual ethnicity or as perceived by the offender is one example. Religion and faith and Sexual orientation can also be targeted during a hate crime. A Homophobic Hate Crime is an incident motivated by a prejudice based on another person?s sexuality (Types of Hate crimes). Domestic violence can also form part of homophobic crime, and may be carried out by partners, relatives, or friends. A Disability and learning disability/difficulty can also make you a target. The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities which includes people with HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis (Types of Hate crimes). The term transgender is used as an umbrella term to cover all those who identify as „trans? such as transsexual, transgender or transvestite (Types of Hate crimes). Gender based hostility or a person’s individual characteristic (alternative lifestyle, culture, physical appearance) or perceived individual characteristic that makes them appear different can be considered a hate crime. The FBI and their Assistance Traditionally FBI investigations of hate crimes were limited to crimes in which the perpetrators acted based on a bias against the victim?s race, color, religion, or national origin (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016).
These investigations were limited to the ones where the victim was engaged in a federally protected activity. With the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, the Bureau became authorized to also investigate crimes committed against those based on biases of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or gender (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016). As part of their duty to maintain the civil rights of the American people the FBI use many precautions to assist with the problem of hate crimes. Public Outreach is a major part of the FBI?s civil rights program because they engage with various local and national organizations to identify violations of federal law designed to protect the civil rights of individuals in the United States (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016). Many of the FBI?s field offices participate in working groups with state and local law enforcement partners as well as community groups who then combine community and law enforcement resources to develop strategies to address local hate crime problems. The FBI conducts hundreds of operational seminars, workshops, and training sessions annually for local law enforcement, minority and religious organizations, and community groups to promote cooperation and reduce civil rights abuses (Federal Bureau of Investigation 2016). They also provide hate crime training for new agents, current agents, and police officers worldwide.
Laws and Acts for Hate Crimes
In 1996, Congress passed the Church Arson Prevention Act. This made it a crime to deface, damage, or destroy religious real property or interfere with a person?s religious practice in situations affecting interstate commerce as well as bars defacing, damaging, or destroying religious property because of the race, color, or ethnicity of persons associated with the property (The United States Department of Justice 2018). In 2009, Congress passed, and President Obama signed, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
This Act expanded the federal definition of hate crimes and removed the existing jurisdictional obstacles to prosecutions of certain race and religion motivated violence (The United States Department of Justice 2018). It also added new federal protections against crimes based on gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. According to The United States Department of Justice the Criminal Interference with Right to Fair Housing statute makes it a crime to use, or threaten to use force to interfere with housing rights because of the victim?s race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status, or national origin (2018). The Violent Interference with Federally Protected Rights statute makes it a crime to use or threaten to use force to willfully interfere with any person because of race, color, religion, or national origin and because the person is participating in a federally protected activity such as public education, employment, jury service, travel, or the enjoyment of public accommodations, or helping another person to do so (The United States Department of Justice 2018). The Conspiracy Against Rights statute makes it unlawful for two or more persons to conspire to injure, threaten, or intimidate a person in any state, territory, or district in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him or her by the Constitution or the laws of the U.S. (The United States Department of Justice 2018).
Recent Occurrences of Hate Crimes
Adam Purinton was the white male who angrily confronted Srinivas Kuchibhotla and Alok Madasani at an Austin?s Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas. Witnesses say he was heard yelling “Get out of my country!” He then proceeded to shoot eight rounds inside the restaurant in turn killing Kuchibhotla and wounding Madasani (Barajas 2018). Ian Grillot who is a resident of Kansas was also shot after he tried to stop Purinton outside the bar. Purinton reportedly thought the men were Iranian and asked them about their immigration status before the shooting (Barajas 2018). He later told officers he had killed two Middle Eastern men. James Jackson is a white supremacist accused of stabbing a black man to death with a sword on a New York City street who told police he wanted to purge the Earth of black people (The Associated Press 2018). James Jackson told investigators after his that he believed that black people were inferior and should be exterminated. He stated “I think we should just preserve the best people and get rid of all the dead weight” and admitted to killing Timothy Caughman in #Manhattan last year simply because he was black (The Associated Press 2018). According to the Associated Press James Jackson admitted he killed the black victim for “practice,” because he wanted to kill even more black people in Times Square after traveling from Baltimore. Jackson said he intended the bloodshed as “a practice run” in a mission to deter interracial relationships (The Associated Press 2018). Robert D. Bowers entered a synagogue with an AR-15 rifle in Pittsburg and then murdered 11 people. He then explained his actions to a SWAT officer by saying “They?re committing genocide to my people. I just want to kill Jews”(Chavez, Grinberg, & McLaughlin 2018). Federal officials charged Mr. Bowers with 29 criminal counts. They included obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs which is a hate crime and using a firearm to commit murder. He also faces state charges, including 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation (Chavez, Grinberg, & McLaughlin 2018). Bibliography Barajas, Joshua. “Kansas Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2017 Shooting That Targeted Indian Men.”
PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 7 Aug. 2018, www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/kansas-man-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-2017- shooting-that-targeted-indian-men. Chavez, Nicole, et al. “Pittsburgh Synagogue Gunman Said He Wanted All Jews to Die, Criminal Complaint Says.” CNN, Cable News Network, 31 Oct. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/10/28/us/pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting/index.html. Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Hate Crimes.” FBI, 3 May 2016, www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/hate-crimes. McCoy, Terrence. “’Saviors of the White Race’: Perpetrators of Hate Crimes See Themselves as Heroes, Researchers Say.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 Oct. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/saviors-of-the-white-race-perpetrators-of- hate-crimes-see-themselves-as-heroes-researchers-say/2018/10/31/277a2bdc-daeb-11e8- 85df-7a6b4d25cfbb_story.html?utm_term=.17fed22c12f1. The Associated Press. “Murder Suspect Told Police Black People Are ‘Inferior’ and Should Be ‘Exterminated’.” FOX 11, 26 Sept. 2018, foxreno.com/news/nation-world- deprecated/murder-suspect-told-police-black-people-are-inferior-and-should-be- exterminated. The United States Department of Justice. “Hate Crime Statistics.” The United States Department of Justice, 26 Nov. 2018, www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/hate-crime-statistics. “Types of Hate Crime.” Northamptonshire Police, www.northants.police.uk/page/types-hate- crime. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/kansas-man-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-2017-shooting-that-targeted-indian-men http://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/kansas-man-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-for-2017-shooting-that-targeted-indian-men http://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights/hate-crimes http://www.justice.gov/hatecrimes/hate-crime-statistics