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Civil Rights


The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida is Committed to the Protection of Civil Rights

 

Protecting the civil rights of all individuals continues to be a top priority for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and our dedicated law enforcement partners at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to the prosecution of civil rights violations, both civil and criminal. The FBI is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating allegations regarding violations of federal civil rights statutes. These federal laws are designed to protect the civil rights of all persons – citizens and non-citizens alike – within the United States and its territories. Utilizing our investigative and intelligence capabilities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI have worked, and continue to work, closely with our community and law enforcement partners to prevent and address hate crimes, human trafficking, color of law violations and other civil rights crimes. We continue to forge meaningful relationships with state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors’ offices, non-governmental offices, community groups, and concerned citizens to promote the benefits of sharing information and intelligence, develop proactive strategies for identifying and addressing civil rights violations, and encourage and improve the reporting of all civil rights violations.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI encourage the reporting of all Civil Rights violations.

To report suspected human trafficking violations, please call 1-888-3737-888 or email NHTRC@polaris project.org. For all other criminal civil right violations, the public can initiate a complaint by contacting the FBI Citizen Complaint Bureau at (754) 703-2000 or by completing a public lead form at https://tips.fbi.gov/. Additional information regarding civil rights violations is available at https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civil-rights. In the event of an emergency, immediately contact 911 or your local police department.

Complaints involving non-criminal civil rights violations should be directed to Veronica Harrell-James, Deputy Chief, U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Division at (305) 961-9327 or Dyandra Valere-Dedier, Civil Rights Intake Specialist at (305) 961-9033. Such complaints include the reporting of all civil rights civil enforcement violations, which are listed below. Complaints may also be submitted using the attached form below. Please mail these forms to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Attn: Civil Rights, AUSA Veronica Harrell-James, 99 N.E. 4th Street, Miami, Florida 33132. Or, these forms may be sent via electronic mail to AUSA Veronica Harrell-James at Veronica.Harrell-James@usdoj.gov or Dyandra Valere-Dedier at Dyandra.Valere-Dedier@usdoj.gov.

Download the Civil Rights Complaint Form.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our FBI partners are committed to combatting:

Criminal Violations:

Hate Crimes – A hate crime is a traditional offense like murder, assault, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias. Hate crimes are a top priority, not only because of the devastating impact they have on families and communities, but also because groups that preach hatred and often spawn violent crimes against innocent people. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI investigate criminal offenses against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a victim’s race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin, actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability.

Color of Law Violations – Law enforcement officers and other governmental officials are given tremendous power - to enforce the law and ensure justice. This power includes the authority to detain and arrest suspects, search and seize property, bring criminal charges, and potentially use deadly force. It is a federal crime for anyone acting under “color of law” (the authority given to him/her by a local, state or federal government agency) to willfully deprive or conspire to deprive a person of a right protected by the Constitution or U.S. law. of law violations include the following acts: excessive force, sexual assaults, false arrest, fabrication of evidence and failure to keep an individual from harm. Preventing and combatting any abuse of this authority is of paramount importance in order to protect our nation’s democracy.

Trafficking - trafficking is a form of human slavery and includes forced labor, domestic servitude, and commercial sex trafficking. It involves both U.S. citizens and foreigners alike, and has no demographic restriction.

International Human Rights Violations – The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI play a vital role in the U.S. government’s coordinated efforts to identify, locate, investigate, and prosecute perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, and other related mass atrocities. Law enforcement seeks information from diaspora members, refugees, and asylum seekers here in the U.S. with knowledge of human rights violations committed abroad. Anyone with information about perpetrators of genocide, war crimes, or other related mass atrocities, is encouraged to submit it to tips.fbi.gov or your local FBI office.

Civil Rights Civil Enforcement:

In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has authority to investigate and enforce non-criminal federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, religion, disability and other protected characteristics. The Civil Rights Civil Enforcement Unit, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, has jurisdiction to initiate civil actions for violations of various federal civil rights statutes, including the following:

  • Fair Housing Act
  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”)
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Employment Discrimination by Governmental entities only)
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1961 (Discrimination in places of public accommodation)
  • Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974
  • Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – Public school desegregation actions
  • Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (“CRIPA”)
  • Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (Pattern or Practice of Police Misconduct)
  • Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. §3789d)
  • Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (“USERRA”)
  • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (“SCRA”)
  • Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, 42 U.S.C. §2000cc (“RLUIPA”)

 

Fair Housing - The Fair Housing Act prohibits discriminatory housing practices based upon race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and familial status. The United States is authorized to bring a lawsuit if it finds a pattern or practice of unlawful conduct, or if the matter raises an issue of public importance. Also, the United States may litigate cases on behalf of private citizens who elect such action upon a finding of reasonable cause by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD complaints may be filed online at www.hud.gov.

Disability Rights - The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in many contexts, including employment, state and local government activities, places of public accommodation, transportation, and telecommunications. The United States is authorized to investigate complaints, conduct compliance reviews to ensure accessibility, initiate and intervene in litigation, and provide technical assistance to businesses, governments, and the general public to promote voluntary compliance with the ADA.

Employment - Laws prohibit employment discrimination based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Under Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA, it is illegal to discriminate in any aspect of employment, including: hiring and firing; compensation, assignment, or classification of employees; transfer, promotion, layoff, or recall; job advertisements; recruitment; testing; use of company facilities; training and apprenticeship programs; fringe benefits; pay, retirement plans, and disability leave; or other terms and conditions of employment. Discriminatory practices also include harassment and retaliation against an individual for filing a charge of discrimination, participating in an investigation, or opposing discriminatory practices. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces all of these laws. The United States has authority to file actions against state or local government employers.

Police Misconduct - The United States is authorized to institute litigation to respond to police departments engaging in a pattern or practice of violating citizens’ federal and constitutional rights. It also investigates complaints of discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin by police departments receiving federal funds.

For more information regarding the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and our efforts to combat civil rights violations, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdfl. Additional information regarding the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is available at https://www.justice.gov/crt.

Updated August 10, 2017

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