U.S. Attorney Karam Launches United Against Hate Initiative
SCRANTON - United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam today announced his office’s participation in the Department of Justice’s new initiative to better counter hate crimes and hate incidents in the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
The Middle District of Pennsylvania was one of the first of 16 U.S. Attorney Offices to launch the United Against Hate program. The United Against Hate initiative seeks to strengthen collaborative relationships of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with communities in order to build trust and encourage the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents. As part of the initiative, U.S. Attorney Karam hosted a meeting yesterday with an audience of various law enforcement agencies and community leaders from across the mid-state.
“The foundation of our democracy seeks for us all to have equal protection and opportunities under the law,” said U.S. Attorney Karam. “With the rising number of crimes occurring because of someone’s skin color, the faith they practice, who they love, or because they have a disability, we recognize the need to reach out to our community leaders and our state and local law enforcement colleagues to develop a partnership to combat acts of hate. Through the United Against Hate initiative, we have combined the strengths of law enforcement with community leaders to identify, report, investigate, and prosecute hate crimes.”
At this initial event, subject matter experts from the United States Attorney’s Office, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office; the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Pennsylvania State Police, the York County District Attorney’s Office, the Anti-Defamation League, and other local law enforcement identified federal and state criminal hate crime statutes. The audience was made up of groups of community leaders, civil rights advocates and organizations, and religious leaders of various faiths. Presenters highlighted differences between hate crimes versus hate incidents and provided options for responding to hate incidents when situations do not constitute a federal or state crime. Presenters also distinguished unlawful conduct from protected First Amendment activity, including identifying protected speech versus speech that advocates violence or encourages people to commit hate crimes.
As part of its United Against Hate programming, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to collaborate with communities across the Middle District of Pennsylvania to expand connections with those communities, further hate crimes prevention efforts, and encourage more people to report hate crimes and hate incidents.
Those who believe they are subject to hate crimes or incidents should contact local law enforcement and the FBI. Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations at https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/. Anyone in the Middle District of Pennsylvania may also report civil rights violations to the Civil Rights coordinator of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania by calling 717-614-4911 or emailing email@example.com.
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