Upholding Civil Rights for All
If you have concerns regarding Civil Rights violations in the Southern District of Indiana, you can now report them to our office via email USAINS-CivilRights@usdoj.gov or using our online form.
The Department of Justice was founded to protect the civil rights of the oppressed and formerly enslaved. We must continue the Department’s commitment to making the promise of equality and justice real for all who call our great country home. We will identify, investigate, and vigorously pursue criminal and civil enforcement for violations of federal civil rights laws. Criminal enforcement, in general, focuses on two areas: (1) hate crimes, which are certain types of criminal conduct motivated by intentional bias based on particular traits, and (2) violations of rights by a government actor, such unreasonable uses of force by law enforcement officers. Civil enforcement, on the other hand, covers a broader array of civil rights matters, such as those involving housing discrimination, voting, fair lending matters, and Americans with Disabilities Act matters. Below is more information about some of these federal civil rights laws:
- The Civil Rights Acts provide some of the early federal statutory protections against discrimination in voting.
- Hate Crimes: At the federal level, a crime motivated by bias against race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of...
Disability including temporary or in recovery
Sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation
Language and national origin including ancestry and ethnicity
Family, marital, or parental status including pregnancy
Americans with Disabilities: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have or is perceived to have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered.
Excessive Force: It is the policy of the Department of Justice to value and preserve human life. Officers may use only the force that is objectively reasonable to effectively gain control of an incident, while protecting the safety of the officer and others. Officers may use force only when no reasonably effective, safe, and feasible alternative appears to exist and may use only the level of force that a reasonable officer on the scene would use under the same or similar circumstances.
The Fair Housing Act: prohibits discrimination by direct providers of housing, such as landlords and real estate companies as well as other entities, such as municipalities, banks or other lending institutions and homeowners insurance companies whose discriminatory practices make housing unavailable to persons because of particular traits.
- The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986 requires that states and territories allow members of the uniformed services serving away from home, their family members, and U.S. citizens who are residing outside the country to register and vote absentee in federal elections.
- The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act: protects military service members and veterans from employment discrimination on the basis of their service, and allows them to regain their civilian jobs following a period of uniformed service.
- Voting Rights: The Voting Rights Act includes a number of key protections of the right to vote, including a nationwide prohibition against voting practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group, protections for voters who need assistance in voting by reason of blindness, disability or inability to read or write, and a requirement that certain jurisdictions provide bilingual written voting materials and voting assistance in covered minority languages, in addition to English.
- The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to make voter registration opportunities for federal elections available through the mail and when people apply for or receive a driver's license, public assistance, disability services or other government services.
- The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 requires states to take certain steps to make the voting process for federal elections accessible to voters with disabilities and voters who are elderly.
- The Help America Vote Act of 2002 establishes minimum standards for states to follow in several key aspects of election administration in federal elections, including voting systems, voter registration databases, and provisional ballots.
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, please call 911 or local police.
If you are reporting misconduct by law enforcement or believe you have experienced a hate crime, please contact the FBI.