AG Expands Civil Rights Division Because of Rise in Hate Crimes

Concord, NH – Attorney General John M. Formella talks about new tools that will help protect civil rights and fight hate crimes, discrimination, and abuses. There will be three more jobs in the Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Unit: one more lawyer, one more sworn police officer, and one more legal support staff member.

The Civil Rights Unit was created in December 2017 and looks into claims of illegal, tortious, or unfair treatment of people because of their protected traits, such as race, religion, family, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, or disability. This group goes after people who break the Civil Rights Act the state’s antidiscrimination rules, or commit hate crimes.

The Unit not only enforces the law, but it also teaches police, prosecutors, public leaders, and the public about hate crimes, civil rights violations, and discrimination. There are six training blocks a year where all police cadets learn how to spot, investigate, and report hate crimes. Local police forces can also get the same kind of training from it.

The Unit holds community outreach events, listening sessions, and conferences with the assistance of neighbourhood police departments, state organizations, and federal agencies to educate people about hate crimes, civil rights violations, and discrimination. As part of its goal to fight discrimination in New Hampshire, the Unit also gives legal advice and helps the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights.

Attorney General Formella said, “Since it was founded six years ago, the Civil Rights Unit has worked nonstop to ensure that hate crimes and civil rights violations are found and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.”

In the past five years, complaints and referrals have grown by 465%, from 40 to 186. One full-time attorney staffs the Unit and gets help from other office units and bureaus as needed and as possible. According to the Attorney General’s Office, this rise in complaints and recommendations is partly because the state is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, political and media rhetoric is becoming more divisive, and there has been more tension and geopolitical conflict around the world recently.

The Attorney General Has Decided to Grow the Civil Rights Division

“When a hate crime happens, it tells that person and their community that they are not safe or welcome.” “People withdraw from society out of fear because of hate crimes,” said Attorney General Formella. We want to make it clear that hate has no place in New Hampshire by giving these extra tools. We will do everything we can to investigate, punish, and stop hate crimes and civil rights violations.

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The unit can look into and pursue more cases each year with these new tools. When there are hate crimes or civil rights violations, the unit can respond quickly to protect the victims and the public. They will also be able to help local police departments better when looking into possible hate crimes. Along with this, the unit will be better able to work with local police and other partners to help victims of hate crimes and ensure the best results for them and their communities.

You can complain at https://www.doj.nh.gov/civil-rights/index.htm or by calling 603-271-3650 if you think your civil rights have been violated. If you think you’ve been the victim of a hate crime, you should first tell the cops and then turn in a complaint to the Civil Rights Unit.

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