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Monday, November 21 2016

DA Sullivan Supports Hate Crimes Hotline

Adapted from a Northwestern District Attorney’s (NWDA) Office press release:

Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan strongly condemns recent hate-filled graffiti on Mount Tom and other criminal acts against minorities, nationwide, that have been reported in recent days. He encourages area residents who believe they have witnessed or been the target of bias-motivated threats, harassment, and/or intimidation to immediately report it to their local police department and to call a new hotline established by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.  Residents who fear for their immediate safety should call 911.

"The defacing of state conservation property with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti is deplorable,” Sullivan said. “Every citizen should be able to enjoy the Mount Tom Reservation without fear of such offensive vandalism."  Attorney General Healey launched the hotline last Monday, following reports of harassment and intimidation of racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; women; LGBTQ individuals; and immigrants since Election Day.  The hotline number is 1-800-994-3228.  Civil Rights Complaint Forms can also filled out here and residents can contact the Attorney General’s (AG's) Office through its Facebook and Twitter pages.

Most hate crimes are prosecuted by the local District Attorney’s Office. In order to prosecute a person under the primary Massachusetts hate crime statute, 3 elements must be established:

*Underlying Criminal Offense---The offender committed an assault or a battery upon the victim or damaged the victim’s property.

*Offender’s Intent---The offender acted with the intent to intimidate the victim.

*Victim’s Protected Characteristic---The offender targeted the victim, in whole or in part, because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

In some cases, the offender may also be prosecuted civilly, either in addition to criminal charges or instead of them, by the AG’s Office under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act (MCRA), which “protects the right to use public parks and transportation, walk on public streets, attend school, live peacefully, and enjoy other basic rights,” as explained on the AG’s website. “Under the MCRA, the attorney general may bring legal action against a perpetrator who threatens, intimidates, or coerces another person on the basis of that person’s membership in a protected group (e.g., race, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability) or protected activity (e.g., exercising the right to vote or the right to associate).”

For more information on hate crimes, the hotline, or anything else discussed above, please visit the Attorney General’s Office website.  Additionally, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a leading civil rights and human relations agency, is also closely monitoring the increase in bias-motivated incidents and is encouraging residents to report hate incidents to them as well by completing an incident report form available at: www.adl.org/exposehate and through Twitter at #ExposeHate.</p>

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