Reports Say DOJ Set To Provide $21M To Help Law Enforcement Agencies Investigate Hate Crimes
According to new reports, the Justice Department announced on Thursday that they will be providing more than $21 million to help various law enforcement agencies investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
The Office of Justice Programs within the office of the DOJ will be awarding money to state, local, and even tribal agencies and community organizations to help “address crimes committed on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.”
According to a report from Axios, hate crimes in the United States during 2021 are actually on pace to surpass the massive spike seen in 2020, with many of them supposedly linked to religious bigotry.
The number of hate crimes reported in 2020 was the highest since 2001, when the U.S. experienced a surge of Islamophobia after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according FBI statistics.
“Hate crimes instill fear across entire communities. They have profoundly negative and unacceptable effects on our society,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a release announcing the funding.
“The department is committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat unlawful acts of hate. These awards will provide state, local and tribal agencies additional support and critical resources to address hate crimes and their far-reaching effects.”
The announcement came on the 12th anniversary of the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Shepard, a gay man, and Byrd, a Black man, were killed over their sexuality and race in separate incidents.
The OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) plans to start a new program in honor of the two men to help improve investigations and prosecutions into hate crimes.
The BJA is awarding $1.5 million under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016 in order to help law enforcement solve cold cases that have been labeled civil rights murders that happened before 1980.
“Acts of violence and destruction motivated by hate and bias cause lasting harm to victims, terrorize entire communities and divide our nation, leaving deep scars and stalling the march toward equal justice,” Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Office of Justice Programs Amy L. Solomon explained.
“We must work together to bridge the gaps of empathy, root out intolerance in all its forms and send a clear message that the future belongs to every American, no matter what they look like, how they worship and whom they love,” she continued.