Montana Man Convicted of Federal Hate Crimes and Firearms Charges For Shooting Intended to Rid Community of the Lesbian and Gay Members
BILLINGS — The U.S. Attorney’s Office held its first United Against Hate event on April 19 in Billings with a meeting of federal and local law enforcement representatives and local religious and faith leaders, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said today.
United Against Hate is an initiative launched by the Department of Justice focused on improving the prevention of hate crimes and hate incidents by building relationships at the local level. Through this initiative, the Justice Department seeks to create and strengthen partnerships among law enforcement, community leaders and residents.
“I am pleased to kick off this initiative in Billings, which has experienced some troubling incidents against houses of worship and faith groups in recent months. Billings also has a history of standing up to hate, and I look forward to hearing different perspectives on ways we can all work together to fight hate crimes and prevent hate incidents from occurring,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.
The meeting, held at the Yellowstone County Commission’s Board Room, provided an opportunity for members and leaders in the faith community to have a better understanding of hate crimes and hate incidents, how to report them to law enforcement and to learn about available resources.
Speakers at the Billings meeting included U.S. Attorney Laslovich and Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Vestal, civil rights coordinator for the office. In addition, the event featured a panel discussion and question and comment session that included U.S. Attorney Laslovich, FBI Supervisory Resident Agent Nadine Brown, Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Protective Security Advisor Albert Mendoza, Yellowstone County Sheriff Mike Linder and Billings Police Department Chief Rich St. John.
The District of Montana will be holding additional United Against Hate events in the coming months in communities across the state.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer