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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 28, 2022

U.S. Attorney Announces Formation of New Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit, With Renewed Focus on Prosecuting Criminal Civil Rights Violations and Police Excessive Force Cases.

U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison announced today that she has formed the office’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit. Although the U.S. Attorney’s office has long investigated and prosecuted criminal civil rights cases and corruption matters, U.S. Attorney Ison has formed this unit to emphasize her priority of prosecuting criminal civil rights and police excessive force cases through the unit and the dedication of additional resources.


U.S. Attorney Ison is emphasizing the office’s determination to prosecute these types of cases. For example, just last year, the U.S. Attorney’s Office successfully prosecuted a man who used racial slurs while brutally attacking a group of African American teenagers at a state park in Monroe, Michigan. The office also prosecuted a former Hamtramck police officer in 2021 for using excessive force against a civilian arrestee and violating the arrestee’s civil rights. “While our office is no stranger to criminal civil rights cases, the formation of the unit is a signal to the community of our renewed focus on civil rights cases and recognizes the work that we have already been doing on this front,” said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. According to the FBI’s reported Hate Crimes Statistics, 2020 saw a 6.1% increase in hate crime reports. In particular, reported hate crime incidents against African Americans rose 49 percent from 2019 to 2020 and anti-Asian hate crime incidents rose 77% during the same period. “Hate crimes and other bias-related incidents instill fear across entire communities. We want the community to know that we stand ready to use our office’s resources to the ensure that everyone can live without fear of becoming a crime victim because of where they are from, what they look like, how they worship, or whom they love,” added Ison.


The Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit will partner with local and federal law enforcement to ensure that allegations of criminal civil rights violations are thoroughly and fairly investigated, that acts constituting federal criminal civil rights violations and the use of excessive force by police officers are sufficiently remedied, and the rights of the victims are vindicated. AUSA David Gardey will serve as Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit.


In addition to the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Unit focused on combatting criminal civil rights violations, the U. S. Attorney’s Office also has a Civil Rights Unit housed in the Civil Division that enforces federal civil anti-discrimination statutes through civil lawsuits and court injunctions.


If you believe you are the victim of a hate crime or believe you witnessed a hate crime:


1. Report the crime to your local police.
2. Quickly follow up this report with a tip to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).


Individuals who believe they have been a victim of discrimination can call the U. S. Attorney’s
Office Civil Rights Hotline at 313.226.9151 or by sending an email to usamie.civilrights@usdoj.gov.

Updated February 28, 2022