Federal Law Enforcement Leaders Affirm Importance of Protecting Civil Rights Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and FBI Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan denounced discrimination and acts of hate targeting racial, ethnic, and religious minorities in the Eastern District of California.
“The majority of hate crimes go unreported,” said U.S. Attorney Scott. “Especially during the coronavirus pandemic, victims are encouraged to report bias-motivated crimes. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office are ready to investigate and vigorously prosecute hate crimes so that all people can live their lives freely and without fear.”
“Hate crimes are not only an attack on a victim; these violent acts threaten and intimidate an entire community,” said Special Agent in Charge Ragan. “For this reason, investigating hate crimes is one of the FBI’s highest priorities and the FBI Sacramento Field Office continues unabated in our pursuit of offenders.”
The Justice Department prosecutes hate crimes and violations of anti-discrimination laws to the fullest extent of the law. Attorney General William Barr and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Eric Dreiband have called upon department prosecutors throughout the country to watch for hate-motivated acts of violence.
U.S. Attorney Scott and Special Agent in Charge Ragan urge communities within the Eastern District of California to take the following steps to protect racial, ethnic, religious and other minority community members from bias and hate:
- Encourage reporting of all incidents of bias and hate. Hate crimes are often underreported to both federal and local law enforcement. It is critical to report hate crimes not only to show support for the individual(s) directly impacted, but also to send a clear message that the community will not tolerate these kinds of crimes. Reporting also enables law enforcement to fully understand the scope of the problem in a community and assign resources toward preventing and addressing crimes of bias and hate.
- How to report hate crimes. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call 911. Then, report the crime by calling the FBI Sacramento Field Office at (916) 746-7000 or submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Tips can be submitted anonymously but contact information is valuable to gather information needed to fully assess the reported situation. The FBI also has linguists available to ensure all callers are understood. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is notified of tips submitted.
- Use language supported by public health officials when referring to the global pandemic and the precipitating virus. World Health Organization (WHO) officials have recommended using “coronavirus disease 2019” or “COVID-19” as appropriate descriptors.
- Disseminate accurate COVID-19 information within professional and social networks. U.S. Government officials have warned the public about widespread misinformation and disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Avoid spreading inaccurate information by relying on trusted sources for news and public health guidance. Examples include: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.CDC.gov), the World Health Organization (www.WHO.int), and the California Department of Public Health (www.cdph.ca.gov).