Mark J. Lesko, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York announced Monday that the Office will double the size of its Civil Rights Section in the Criminal Division to provide additional resources to evaluate and, where appropriate, prosecute hate crimes. The Civil Rights Section will continue to be responsible for spearheading the Office’s prosecution of three types of offenses: (1) traditional civil rights crimes by individuals who operate under the color of law; (2) hate crimes; and (3) sex trafficking.
“The spiking number of hate crimes directed at Asian Americans in this District and throughout the country runs contrary to deeply-held American values of fairness, respect and equal treatment for all without regard to ethnic origin. The additional resources allocated to the Civil Rights Section reflect the commitment of this Office and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners to upholding these important and enduring values, which categorically reject hate, intolerance and the violence they spawn,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Lesko. “We strongly encourage members of all communities to report hate-based crimes as we continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law.”
Mr. Lesko thanked the District Attorneys of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island for their cooperation and coordination, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations; the New York City Police Department; and the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments for their continued partnership.
“Investigating hate crimes remains the highest priority of the FBI’s civil rights program, and the public should know that we will continue to work hand in hand with all of our law enforcement partners to investigate any and all allegations of hate crimes. We can’t investigate what we don’t know, however, so I would urge anyone who has been the victim of a hate crime, or anyone who has witnessed a hate crime, to report this information to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Victims should know that information may be reported anonymously and in their native language. Help us fight hate in our communities together,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is proud to join together with the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office, EDNY, in combatting the rising trend of Hate Crimes that we are seeing throughout our region. Every person should be free to live and worship as they wish without fear for repercussions or their safety,” stated HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh. “Working with our partners, HSI will hold those who victimize others based on their nationality, race, religion or otherwise, responsible for their actions.”