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Responding to Hate. The Role of Human or Civil Rights Commissions in Hate Crime Response. Roles and Community Response. The responsibility of investigating a reported hate crime belongs to law enforcement.

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responding to hate

Responding to Hate

The Role of Human or Civil Rights Commissions in Hate Crime Response

roles and community response
Roles and Community Response
  • The responsibility of investigating a reported hate crime belongs to law enforcement.
  • The responsibility of charging and prosecuting the offenders belongs to the prosecuting attorney.
  • The role of facilitating a proper response can belong to a local Human Rights or Civil Rights Commission (HRC).
why a response is important
Why a response is important
  • Silence means acceptance
    • If we do not respond to hate crime, we send a message to the victim and perpetrator that intolerance is okay.
  • A report released by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney General in 2001 indicates that many hate crimes are escalations of other incidents that do not get a proper response (Ashcroft, 5).
  • A U.S. Department of Justice 2005 study of hate crime reporting indicates that only about 40% of all bias motivated incidents are reported to authorities (Harlow, 2).
iowa demographic outlook
Iowa Demographic Outlook
  • The population of Iowa is very rapidly becoming more diverse.
    • The Latino-American population has increased by 30% since 2000
    • The Asian-American community has grown by 19%
    • African American community has grown by nearly 10%
    • Estimates project that by 2010, 90% of all new growth in Iowa will be attributed to minority groups.
hate crime trends
Hate Crime Trends
  • African Americans are the most frequent victims of hate crime in Iowa, accounting for nearly 60% of reported hate crime victims. Homosexual men are the second most targeted group (Iowa DPS).
  • Hate Crime against Latinos nationally is up 30% in the last 5 years (FBI).
    • Latinos account for the largest and fastest growing minority in Iowa.
  • The number of annually reported hate crimes in Iowa is around 30, except for a jump in 2002 when 48 hate incidents were reported (Iowa DPS).
hate crime in iowa
Hate Crime in Iowa

A sample of Hate Crime in Iowa for 2007:

  • Des Moines (Assault) Jassimen Dobbins and Angela Wade, both 19, were charged with first-degree burglary and third-degree arson for allegedly beating a gay teenager with a bottle, stabbing him with a fork, and stealing $5, his ATM card and his driver's license before setting his bag on fire.
  • Ottumwa (Criminal Mischief) Matthew A. Lanman, 17, was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief as a hate crime for allegedly hanging a dead opossum and a note insulting Blacks and Latinos in a school bathroom.
  • Marshalltown (Vandalism, Theft) Racial slurs and graffiti were spray painted and the family’s Christmas presents stolen at the home of a minority family supporting Barack Obama.
  • Cedar Rapids (Vandalism) Racial Slurs, swastikas, and threats including a hangman’s platform and the words “Leave Now” were painted on the home of a couple living on SW Mallory Street on Christmas Eve.
elements of an effective response
Elements of an Effective Response
  • Reporting
    • Reported to local law enforcement, or authority for investigation.
    • Receiving and/or publicizing reports from law enforcement of bias related incidents.
  • Victim Support
    • Reassurance, safety, and listening
      • Developing a list of procedures or do’s and don’ts
    • Connecting to resources
      • Iowa Attorney General’s Victim Assistance Program
    • Assessing needs (Medical, Emotional, et cetera)
  • Public Denunciation
    • Action that condemns the hate crime, takes a position against intolerance, supports the targeted community
    • Should be proportionate to the crime
what a human or civil rights commission can do
What a Human or Civil Rights Commission can do
  • Open up a dialogue with community partners such as law enforcement, city officials, organizations and schools about networking against bias.
    • Sharing incident reports
      • Law enforcement can notify HRC or City, set up communication chain with other community stakeholders
    • Work with schools on combating bias and hate.
      • Many universities have bias response teams (UNI)
      • Work with community schools to enforce the Safe Schools Law
    • Discuss obtaining training on hate crimes such as is offered by the US DOJ Community Relations Service (see resources).
      • Law Enforcement
    • Discuss establishing a response plan and policy
      • Similar to fire plan
best practices cities
Best Practices - Cities
  • Advocate to the city council to create a statement and proclamation to support social and racial tolerance and end bigotry.
    • Oak Park, Illinois
  • Create a pledge to diversity or racial justice and encourage people or business to sign on.
    • Beloit, Wisconsin
  • Establishing and publishing a hate crime response plan.
    • Fargo, ND; Edina, MN; Shoreview MN
  • Start a bias crime network or task force
    • Flint, Michigan

Best Practice

Hate Crime Network or Task Force

  • Some cities have established a “network” against bias.
    • Incorporates all the elements of hate crime response.
    • Consists of representatives of community stakeholders such as schools, city government, civic organizations.
      • Set goals to facilitate hate crime reporting.
        • Sharing incident reports with other organizations.
      • In the incident of a hate crime, they will have someone available to contact and support the victim.
      • Would determine and plan an appropriate public response.
public response
Public Response
  • Develop a Toolkit
  • Iowa Civil Rights Commission Toolkit

Promotion and Prevention

  • Schools
    • Safe schools law
    • Student project resources
  • Community Projects
    • Community project resources
  • Distributing Information and Educating
    • Brochures, news articles about laws and victim resources
  • Anti-Defamation League
    • Blueprint for combating bias and hate crime
    • Regional Office: Omaha, Nebraska
  • Southern Poverty Law Center
    • Intelligence Report
    • Campus Hate Crime Resource
  • U.S. Dept. of Justice – Community Relations Service
    • Regional Office: Kansas City, MO
  • Statistics
    • FBI Uniform Crime Report
    • Iowa Department of Public Safety Uniform Crime Report
  • Ashcroft, John; Daniels, Deborah J.; Nedelkoff, Richard R. Hate Crime on Campus: The problem and efforts to confront it. Bureau of Justice Assistance. October, 2001.
  • FBI Uniform Crime Report, 2006.
  • Iowa Department of Public Safety Uniform Crime Report, 2005.
  • Harlow, Caroline Wolf. Hate Crime Reported by Victims and Police. Bureau of Justice Statistics. November 2005.
  • Lockyer, Bill. Reporting Hate Crimes. California Attorney General’s Office. 2003.