So far the Trump administration has largely ignored the surge in domestic terror that targets minorities. Black lawmakers say that must change. They want federal law enforcement agencies to make fighting hate crimes a priority.
Richmond tells the department heads that they must “proactively” investigate and prosecute every hate crime, which began to surge during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
The congressman writes that Trump “employed starkly divisive rhetoric” to connect with members of the GOP base who have a propensity for racial or religious bias. He notes that Trump supporters attacked African Americans, Hispanics, Muslims and immigrant rights advocates at campaign rallies.
Now that Trump is in the White House, many of those individuals feel “emboldened” to act on their hatreds, he adds.
Indeed, the Southern Poverty Law Center recorded 1,094 bias incidents since Trump won the election. There’s evidence that about 37 percent of those incidents have a Trump connection, such as a reference to his campaign slogan, according to the organization.
Richmond points to several recent examples reported widely in the media, including the fatal stabbing of a young Army officer, Richard Collins, by a suspected neo-Nazi days, before the soldier’s college graduation ceremony.
He also underscores the nooses found at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Earlier this month, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) renewed his call for the House Homeland Security Committee to take action against domestic terrorism. That came in the aftermath of fatal stabbings in Portland, Oregon, in an apparent anti-Muslim incident.
Thompson’s first call for action came after a White supremacist fatally shot nine African-American worshippers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Richmond writes in his letter to the department heads that federal hate crimes statutes are effective tools to achieve the mission of protecting people.
“Surely there is no greater cause of a government than to protect the lives of its citizens, particularly those uniquely vulnerable to hate, intolerance, and violence,” he adds.
SOURCE: The Hill