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March 23, 2015 1

New FBI Hate Crime Training Manual Published

This week the FBI pub­lished an updated hate crime train­ing man­ual. The excel­lent new guide is the sin­gle most impor­tant, most inclu­sive hate crime train­ing resource avail­able for law enforce­ment officials

DOJ sealThis ver­sion of the Bureau’s Hate Crime Data Col­lec­tion Guide­lines and Train­ing Man­ual  includes new def­i­n­i­tions, train­ing sce­nar­ios, and a spe­cial con­sid­er­a­tions sec­tion to help police offi­cials effec­tively iden­tify and report the new cat­e­gories of crime man­dated for col­lec­tion for 2015 – includ­ing hate crimes directed at Arabs, Sikhs and Hin­dus. The first edi­tion of the man­ual, pub­lished in early 2013, included guid­ance on how to define and iden­tify gen­der and gen­der iden­tity hate crimes, based on require­ments set forth in the Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act(HCPA).

The FBI has been track­ing and doc­u­ment­ing hate crimes reported from fed­eral, state, and local law enforce­ment offi­cials since 1991 under the Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act of 1990 (HCSA). The Bureau’s annual HCSA reports pro­vide the best sin­gle national snap­shot of bias-motivated crim­i­nal activ­ity in the United States. The Act has also proven to be a pow­er­ful mech­a­nism to con­front vio­lent big­otry, increas­ing pub­lic aware­ness of the prob­lem and spark­ing improve­ments in the local response of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to hate vio­lence – since in order to effec­tively report hate crimes, police offi­cials must be trained to iden­tify and respond to them.

Although the newest data from the 2013 Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act report showed hate crimes have been declin­ing, the num­bers are still dis­turbingly high.  The addi­tion of anti-Arab, anti-Sikh, and anti-Hindu hate crimes for 2015 demon­strates the Bureau’s com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing and coun­ter­act­ing these crimes.  After the tragic mur­der of six Sikh wor­ship­pers in Oak Creek, Wis­con­sin in 2012, col­lect­ing data on Arab, Sikh, and Hindu vic­tims of hate crimes became even more urgent. This updated FBI hate crime train­ing man­ual is a cru­cial step in the work to address these crimes.

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October 15, 2014 0

The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act: Five Years Later

The Matthew Shep­ard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Pre­ven­tion Act (HCPA), enacted into law on Octo­ber 28, 2009, is the most impor­tant, com­pre­hen­sive, and inclu­sive fed­eral hate crime enforce­ment law passed in the past 40 years.Matthew_Shepard_and_James_Byrd,_Jr._Hate_Crimes_Prevention_Act

The HCPA encour­ages part­ner­ships between state and fed­eral law enforce­ment offi­cials to more effec­tively address hate vio­lence, and pro­vides expanded author­ity for fed­eral hate crime inves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions when local author­i­ties are unwill­ing or unable to act.  Impor­tantly, the HCPA adds sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, gen­der, gen­der iden­tity and dis­abil­ity to the groups which pre­vi­ously had fed­eral pro­tec­tion against hate crimes – race, color, reli­gion and national origin.

For more than a dozen years, the Anti-Defamation League led a broad coali­tion of civil rights, reli­gious, edu­ca­tional, pro­fes­sional, law enforce­ment, and civic orga­ni­za­tions advo­cat­ing for the HCPA. The leg­is­la­tion was stalled by fierce oppo­si­tion from some con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions — and, for eight years, by Pres­i­dent George W. Bush — in large part because it pro­vided new author­ity for the FBI and the Jus­tice Depart­ment to inves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute cases in which mem­bers of LGBT com­mu­ni­ties were tar­geted for vio­lence.  Ener­getic sup­port by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric H. Holder, Jr.  was essen­tial to achiev­ing final pas­sage of the measure.

The HCPA has proven to be a valu­able tool for fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors.  The Depart­ment of Jus­tice has brought more than two dozen cases over the past five years – and has suc­cess­fully defended the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ity of the Act against sev­eral con­sti­tu­tional chal­lenges.

Enact­ment of the HCPA also sparked a wel­come round of police train­ing and out­reach – and the devel­op­ment of a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant new hate crime train­ing and pre­ven­tion resources, includ­ing an updated Hate Crime Model Pol­icy pre­pared by the Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Police.

Yet, much work remains to be done.  Hate crimes remain a seri­ous national prob­lem. In 2012 (accord­ing to the most recent data avail­able) the FBI doc­u­mented more than 6,500 hate crimes – almost one every hour of every day. The most fre­quent were moti­vated by race, fol­lowed by reli­gion and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.  Of the crime moti­vated by reli­gion, more than 60 per­cent tar­geted Jews or Jew­ish institutions.

Unfor­tu­nately, more than 90 cities with pop­u­la­tions over 100,000 either did not par­tic­i­pate in the FBI 2012 data col­lec­tion pro­gram or affir­ma­tively reported zero (0) hate crimes. That is unac­cept­able. As FBI Direc­tor James B. Comey said in remarks to the 2014 ADL Lead­er­ship Sum­mit, “We must con­tinue to impress upon our state and local coun­ter­parts in every juris­dic­tion the need to track and report hate crime. It is not some­thing we can ignore or sweep under the rug.”

The fifth anniver­sary of the HCPA pro­vides an impor­tant teach­able moment.  It is a fit­ting occa­sion for advo­cates, the Obama Admin­is­tra­tion, and Con­gress to pro­mote aware­ness of the HCPA, to report on the progress our nation has made in pre­vent­ing hate vio­lence, and to reded­i­cate our­selves to effec­tively respond­ing to bias crimes when they occur.

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April 3, 2014 0

Houston Terror Suspect Allegedly Behind Conspiratorial Facebook Page


Robert Tal­bot Jr.

Last week, the FBI arrested Robert Tal­bot Jr. on charges of plan­ning a vio­lent attack on a Houston-area mosque. A look into Talbot’s his­tory reveals that he not only fos­ters a deep-seated hatred of Mus­lims and Islam, but also sub­scribes to con­spir­acy the­o­ries of an alleged Mus­lim Broth­er­hood takeover of the U.S. and the need to com­bat the so-called “New World Order.” Talbot’s plan to attack the mosque and Mus­lim insti­tu­tions is the lat­est in a recent string of vio­lence directed toward the Muslim-American community.

Accord­ing to the FBI, Talbot’s plan was to recruit “like-minded” accom­plices to “blow up gov­ern­ment build­ings, rob banks, and kill law enforce­ment offi­cers.” In addi­tion, Tal­bot tar­geted Islamic cen­ters and mosques. Tal­bot allegedly planned to enter a mosque dur­ing Fri­day prayers and shoot wor­ship­pers dur­ing ser­vices. FBI offi­cials have also stated that it was part of Talbot’s plan to rob an armored car and attack a mosque with a machine gun. To jus­tify these acts of vio­lence, Tal­bot said that he would be “doing the Will of God.”

Law enforce­ment offi­cials state that Tal­bot is behind the con­spir­a­to­r­ial anti-Muslim and anti-government Face­book page, Amer­i­can Insur­gent Move­ment (AIM).  In posts attrib­uted to him, Tal­bot expressed racist and anti-Muslim con­spir­a­to­r­ial sen­ti­ments that the U.S. has been infil­trated by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and that he intended to send “that White House worth­less piece of dirt and his Mus­lim Broth­er­hood a mes­sage they will never forget.”

In a Novem­ber 23, 2013 post, Tal­bot claimed that he is “not a racist per­son, but I’m only racist to those cul­tures whom show it, and this is why I don’t like Chinks, Mus­lims and a few other…” Tal­bot has also made threats against Obama admin­is­tra­tion advi­sor Valerie Jar­rett, who was born in Iran and who Tal­bot alleged is “a Muslim.”

The ‘About’ sec­tion of AIM’s Face­book page states that it is a group intended for indi­vid­u­als seek­ing to “restore Amer­ica Pre-Constitutionally and look for­ward to stop­ping the Regime with action by blood­shed.” Addi­tion­ally, many of Talbot’s post­ings allude to the need to fight “New World Order,” a con­spir­acy the­ory typ­i­cally revolv­ing around claims that the U.S. gov­ern­ment is try­ing to enslave, coerce, intim­i­date, scare, poi­son, or kill U.S. cit­i­zens on a mass scale.

In a March 1, 2014 post on the Face­book page, Tal­bot claimed that the NWO seeks “to turn Amer­i­can [sic] into their Marx­ist Mus­lim dream,” and that the “NWO can be stop [sic] and will be stopped.” In an ear­lier post from Feb­ru­ary 7, Tal­bot wrote that AIM is “Look­ing ONLY for ex-military or self-trained men who trained in guer­rilla war­fare and under­stand war/battle to the fullest.”

Talbot’s alleged plot is the lat­est in a series of recent inci­dents tar­get­ing Mus­lims and Mus­lim insti­tu­tions:

  • March 2014: The Prayer Cen­ter of Orland Park, located in a Chicago sub­urb, was fired at dur­ing early morn­ing prayer ser­vices by an unknown attacker. A bul­let allegedly struck the gold metal dome of the mosque.
  • March 2014: Sev­eral shots were fired at the Islamic Cen­ter of Hat­ties­burg, Mis­sis­sippi in the mid­dle of the night. Law enforce­ment stated that it is con­sid­er­ing the inci­dent as a “mali­cious mis­chief case.”
  • March 2014: An Iraqi immi­grant was gunned down in a shop­ping cen­ter park­ing lot in Sacra­mento, Cal­i­for­nia by an assailant who has expressed hatred for peo­ple of Mid­dle East­ern descent. Law enforce­ment is treat­ing the inci­dent as a hate crime.

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