On April 5, 2017, Attorney General Sessions released details about the Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The Attorney General highlighted the importance of combating hate crimes by creating, as part of that overall Committee, a Hate Crimes Subcommittee. The Attorney General stressed in the statement he made announcing the Subcommittee’s creation:
We will not tolerate threats or acts of violence targeting any person or community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs or background. Accordingly, the Hate Crimes Subcommittee will develop a plan to appropriately address hate crimes to better protect the rights of all Americans.
The Hate Crimes Subcommittee is led by Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler, and is made up of subject matter experts including career prosecutors in the Civil Rights Division, United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. The Hate Crime Subcommittee also includes FBI agents with supervisory authority over hate crime investigations and FBI agents who oversee FBI’s hate crime data collection. The Subcommittee also includes members of DOJ’s Community Relations Service (CRS), who are community relations experts who are often deployed to communities in the wake of an incident, and experts from the COPS office, who are familiar with community orientated policing. Other experts from across the Department also will contribute their experience and expertise.
The Attorney General’s mandate to the Hate Crime Subcommittee is to take a hard look whether there is anything that the Department can do to improve reporting, investigation, and prosecution of hate crimes. The Hate Crime Subcommittee will both explore whether improvements can be made within the federal system and whether we can do more to assist our state and local partners. The Hate Crime Subcommittee will also examine hate crimes data collection.
As part of this mission, the Attorney General asked the Hate Crime Subcommittee to consult with the relevant stakeholders and gather suggestions on ways, big and small, that the Department might better investigate, prosecute, and prevent hate crimes. On June 29, the Hate Crimes Subcommittee will hold a one-day summit to foster a conversation around this topic. Stakeholders will also be afforded the opportunity to provide written suggestions. This summit will allow the members of the Subcommittee, identified above, to meet with stakeholders from across the community to get their input before making its recommendation to the Attorney General.