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The Civil Rights Program

The Civil Rights Unit, part of a broader civil rights initiative of the U.S. Attorney's Office in West Tennessee, enhances the ability of the U.S. Attorney to enforce federal civil rights laws and ensure that all Americans enjoy the rights and freedoms the Constitution guarantees them.

The Civil Rights Unit prosecutes the full spectrum of federal civil rights crimes, including official misconduct, human trafficking, and hate crimes. It also handles law enforcement public corruption cases.

The FBI is the primary federal enforcement agency for federal civil rights crimes. While the Memphis FBI office ranks forty-fifth out of the FBI’s fifty-six field divisions in terms of size, it is in the top five in terms of the number of civil rights cases it produces.

Primary federal statutes that trigger the Civil Rights Unit's involvement include:

  • Conspiracy Against Rights, 18 U.S.C. § 241
  • Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law, 18 U.S.C. § 242
  • Federally Protected Activities, 18 U.S.C. § 245
  • Damage to Religious Property, 18 U.S.C. § 247
  • Freedom of Access to Clinics, 18 U.S.C. § 248
  • The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, 18 U.S.C.
    § 249
  • Peonage, 18 U.S.C. § 1581
  • Involuntary Servitude, 18 U.S.C. § 1584
  • Forced Labor, 18 U.S.C. § 1589
  • Trafficking with Respect to Peonage, Slavery, Involuntary Servitude, or Forced Labor, 18
    U.S.C. § 1590
  • Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force, Fraud, or Coercion, 18 U.S.C. § 1591
  • Unlawful Conduct with Respect to Documents in Furtherance of Trafficking, Peonage,
    Slavery, Involuntary Servitude, or Forced Labor, 18 U.S.C. § 1592
  • Color of Law Corruption, 18 U.S.C. § 1951
  • Criminal Interference with Right to Fair Housing, 42 U.S.C. § 3631

Citizen complaints may be registered with the Civil Rights Unit by e-mail or by telephone. For direct e-mail notification, click this link. You may call toll free 1-800-414-4712 to discuss a civil rights complaint. Please ask for someone in the Civil Rights Unit.

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Updated March 30, 2015