Federal Officials Discuss Hate Crimes Protections with LGBT Community
BIRMINGHAM – The Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service met Tuesday at the U.S. Attorney’s Office with representatives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organizations and the FBI to discuss the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act and how it affects their communities.
The Shepard-Byrd Act, signed into law in 2009, expands previous federal hate-crime legislation to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or religion.
Mildred Duprey de Robles, conciliation specialist with the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, led the discussion on ways for members of the LGBT communities to best work with federal law enforcement to identify and report hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents that specifically impact those communities.
“Hate crimes are of particular concern to my office and we will continue to work with affected communities and our law enforcement partners to ensure prompt enforcement of federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance.
“Members of the LGBT community should know that the FBI wants to hear from anyone who believes they may have been a victim of potential hate crimes,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley said. “We stand ready to investigate any instances where people may have been threatened or harmed by someone motivated by bias or hatred.”
“Although not an official Pride event, perhaps the most important thing to come out of Pride week this year is this meeting sponsored by the Justice Department and including the FBI; in which leaders of several LGBT groups learned that federal authorities are standing with us in wanting to educate the community and law enforcement about the Shepard-Byrd Act in ways that will focus both on prevention of hate crimes, as well as enforcement,” said Joe Openshaw, board chairman of Equality Alabama. “We feel encouraged."
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a hate-motivated crime, or has knowledge of a potential crime motivated by hate or bias, should call the FBI at 205-326-6166.
If you believe your organization has expertise or resources that could improve outcomes for ex-offenders re-entering society, please e-mail our Community Outreach Coordinator at Jeremy.Sherer@usdoj.gov
or call 205-244-2019.