News and Press Releases


Aug. 26, 2010


WICHITA, KAN. – Enforcing federal laws against hate crimes will be one of his priorities, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

“The U.S. Attorney’s office will use every tool at its disposal to protect the rights of Kansans ensured under the Constitution,” Grissom said. “Violence, or the threat of violence, masquerading as political activism will not be tolerated.”

Grissom said he was concerned by reports that a candidate for the Kansas House from Wichita had reported receiving a death threat.

Grissom noted that a new federal hate crime law (18 U.S.C. 249) broadens existing statutes to get federal authorities more involved in local hate crimes investigations. It expands the previous federal hate crime law to include crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. It removes the requirement that a victim be engaging in a federally-protected activity. It also provides federal funding to help state and local agencies pay for investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.

“Federal law protects our nation’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered individuals from the most brutal forms of bias-motivated violence,” Grissom said. “It is my intention to fully enforce that law.”