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The U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to the aggressive enforcement of federal civil rights laws in Massachusetts and prosecutes numerous cases each year. To tackle the broad range of civil rights offenses, the Office divides the cases between two Divisions: Criminal and Civil enforcement. With limited exceptions, the U.S. Attorney's Office represents the United States of America, not any specific individual.
Civil Rights Enforcement Team (CRET)
Established in 2010, the Civil Rights Enforcement Team enforces violations of criminal civil rights laws. For instance, CRET is responsible for cases involving human trafficking, hate crimes, and use of excessive force by police.
Civil Rights Unit (CRU)
The Civil Rights Unit was established in 2015 to enforce federal civil laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation, disability, religion, family status, and national origin. CRU enforces the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act, for example, 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.
Civil Rights Unit (CRU) Outreach
In addition to investigating and prosecuting violations of federal civil rights laws, the Civil Rights Unit also conducts outreach with and training for advocates, state and local agencies, law enforcement, and community members throughout the Commonwealth. The CRU’s outreach efforts are aimed at engaging with the public to identify and redress civil rights violations; its training efforts are designed to proactively educate people on their rights and obligations under the law to prevent a civil rights violation from happening in the first place. For example, the CRU has hosted a number of roundtable discussions with advocates about issues such as fair housing, disability rights, LGBTQ issues, community policing, hate crimes, and education. The CRU also sponsors large conferences that bring together prominent national speakers on issues such as ending the school-to-prison pipeline.
To Report a Civil Rights Violation
If you need further assistance or have information concerning a potential violation of federal civil rights laws that you would like to bring to our attention, please email USAMA.CivilRights@usdoj.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office (617-748-3100) and ask to speak to the Civil Rights Intake Specialist.
Other federal agencies also handle civil rights complaints, including:
- Employment discrimination, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- Housing discrimination, contact the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Education discrimination, contact the United States Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights
- Violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, contact the United States Department of Labor, Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).