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Civil Rights

Civil Rights

The U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to the aggressive enforcement of federal civil rights laws in the Eastern District of Kentucky and prosecutes numerous cases each year. The Office divides the cases between two Divisions: Criminal and Affirmative Civil Enforcement. With limited exceptions, the U.S. Attorney's Office represents the United States of America, not any specific individual.

Criminal Enforcement

Attorneys in the Office’s Criminal Division investigate and prosecute violations of federal criminal civil rights laws.  These include:

  • The use of unreasonable force by law enforcement (including police, jail, and prison officials of all kinds)
  • Other misconduct by individuals acting under color of law that deprives an individual of their rights under the Constitution (such as sexual assaults, illegal searches, wrongful arrests, or failing to protect those in their custody)
  • Hate crimes or bias-motivated crimes committed based on the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability
  • Intentional damage or destruction to religious property because of its religious nature and using force or threats to obstruct a victim’s right to freely exercise their religious beliefs
  • Using force, threat of force, or physical obstruction to prevent entry into a reproductive health facility and damaging any property of a reproductive health facility because it provides reproductive health services


AUSA Zach Dembo is the Office’s Civil Rights Coordinator for criminal matters.


Civil Enforcement

Attorneys in the Office’s Affirmative Civil Enforcement (ACE) unit enforce federal civil laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation, religion, disability, military status, and other protected characteristics in the areas of education, housing, transportation, and employment, among others. Some of the civil rights statutes ACE enforces include the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, as well as laws that prohibit patterns or practices of police misconduct, protect the rights of English Language Learners in schools, and prohibit bullying and harassment.

AUSA Carrie Pond is the Office’s Civil Rights Coordinator for civil matters.

To Report a Civil Rights Violation: 

If you need further assistance or have information concerning a potential violation of federal civil rights laws, please email   or call the U.S. Attorney's Office (859-233-2661) and ask to speak to a Civil Rights Coordinator.

To report potential civil rights violations to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division or to learn more about the Department’s civil rights enforcement efforts, please visit

Other federal agencies also handle civil rights complaints, including:

Updated October 19, 2022