D.C. Chief of Police Cathy Lanier discusses the formation of the new task force during an interview with the Washington Blade. Photo: Strother Gaines/Washington Blade Washington, D.C. leaders are ramping up efforts to improve hate crime investigations. Last month, the district mayor and police chief launched a task force that will evaluate how the Metropolitan Police Department investigates and reports hate crimes, particularly those targeting the LGBT community. The task force aims to identify and strengthen investigation weaknesses and build better police-community relations.
San Francisco Bay Area, CA: Fred Phelps of the so-called Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group from Topeka, Kansas, is targeting San Francisco-Bay Area schools, organizations, and houses of worship to picket this coming week. We'd like to help facilitate community strategies for response. Phelps has been spreading his message of hate for years, targeting Jewish institutions and those he considers gay-friendly. Communities across the country that have been targeted by him and other hate groups have chosen different ways to respond to their organizing and hateful speech. The Anti-Defamation League is not alone in suggesting that the best response is no response at all. The hate group craves publicity. If Phelps’ people hold up their hate signs on an empty street, with no one watching, and no news cameras around, that is indeed fitting rejoinder to their message.