US Justice Department declined to prosecute 82% of people suspected of federal hate crimes

US Justice Department declined to prosecute 82% of people suspected of federal hate crimes

The U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute 82% of individuals suspected of federal hate crimes over most of the past 20 years , it said during a research report on Thursday, revealing a rate of prosecution far less than that for other federal crimes.

The report illustrates the complexity of the work ahead for Attorney General Merrick Garland as he aims to extend federal prosecutors' specialise in hate crimes and improve coordination with local enforcement and community advocacy groups.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics said prosecutors investigated 1,864 suspects for possible hate crimes from Oct. 1, 2004 - the start of the 2005 financial year - through Sept. 30, 2019, and referred only 17% of these suspects for prosecution. one-hundredth of hate crime suspects had their cases resolved by a magistrate judge.

The report didn't provide an overall rate for the entire number of suspects of federal crimes the department declined to prosecute during the study period. But the foremost recent Bureau of Justice Statistics report available shows it declined to prosecute nearly 13% of individuals suspected of federal crimes within the 2018 financial year , a far lower rate.

The department has warned that supremacist groups represent a rising security threat to the us after the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol.

At an equivalent time, reports of hate-inspired attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have also been on the increase , spurred by what many say were former President Donald Trump's inflammatory remarks blaming the COVID-19 pandemic on China.

In May, Garland outlined new steps to assist state and native police track and investigate hate crimes, which historically are an under-reported crime to the FBI by local enforcement , and involved the department to expedite the review of possible hate crimes.

He also ordered all 93 U.S. Attorneys round the country to assign local criminal and civil prosecutors to function civil rights coordinators, and asked them to determine district alliances against hate to enhance coordination with local enforcement .

Frank Pezzella, a professor at Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that policy priorities are often a drive behind whether hate crimes get prosecuted or not.

"Even at the precinct level - when there's a clear-cut policy ... that hate crimes are getting to be pursued and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, it sends a message", he said.

Thursday's report also showed that when U.S. Attorneys have pursued federal hate crime charges, they need been largely successful. Conviction rates for hate crimes rose, from 83% during 2005-2009, to 94% during 2015-2019.

High-profile cases have included the successful prosecution of supremacist Dylann Roof, who in December 2016 was found guilty of federal hate crimes after he gunned down nine Black parishioners at a church in South Carolina.

In April, the Department of Justice charged three Georgia men with federal hate crimes in last year's slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who was gunned down as he was out jogging through a suburban neighborhood.

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