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.
Human Rights Campaign
Hate crimes against Hispanic and LGBTQ Americans are on the rise. Yet current federal hate crimes laws do not protect LGBTQ citizens; there are still five states with no hate crimes legislation on the books; and 23 states do not require collection of hate crimes statistics. This year, the US Congress is expected to vote on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (LLEHCPA), legislation that would add protections for victims of attacks based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and give the federal government the power to work with local authorities to ensure that hate crimes are properly investigated and prosecuted. President Obama’s campaign platform included passing the LLEHCPA (also known as the Matthew Shepard Act), and now that’s he in office, many diverse groups are working to get this legislation through the House and Senate. Their letters, statements, and videos speak powerfully about fighting hate. Here are some links and excerpts: Human Rights Campaign’s videos, “Voices Against Hate: Community and faith leaders speak out against hate crime violence.” Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center in his letter to the House of Representatives: