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Statement of Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey
Regarding Today's Civil Rights March

“In recent months, there have been reports of nooses and other symbols of racial and religious hate appearing in schools, work places, and neighborhoods across the country. These symbols of hate have no place in our great country. As part of the Justice Department’s racial threats initiative, the Department – including the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – is working in partnership with state and local law enforcement and civil rights organizations to investigate aggressively dozens of noose-hangings and other recent racially and religiously motivated threats around the country. In order to be most effective, these investigations do not occur in the public eye.

“The Justice Department shares with those who demonstrate today their objective of bringing to justice those who commit criminal acts of hate; it shares their vision of eradicating hate in our society. At the same time, the Department must follow the law and the principles of federal prosecution in every case it investigates and prosecutes. Although there are limitations and challenges in bringing successful hate crimes prosecutions, the Department takes each case seriously, and is prepared to vindicate the rights of the victims when prosecution is warranted by the facts and by federal law.

“The mission of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is as vital today as when it was created 50 years ago. Those who march today should be commended for highlighting the issues of tolerance and civil liberties. We hope that all can agree that it is the criminals who commit violent acts of hate who deserve the loudest protest. And as long as hatred and racism exist, the Justice Department will continue its hard and effective work on behalf of all victims of hate crimes.”