US Attorney Karam Launches United Against Hate Initiative | USAO-MDPA

SCRANTON – US Attorney Gerard M. Karam today announced his office’s participation in the Department of Justice’s new initiative to better address hate crimes and hate incidents in the Central County of Pennsylvania.

The Middle District of Pennsylvania was one of the first of 16 U.S. Attorneys to create the United Against Hate program. The United Against Hate initiative aims to strengthen collaborative relationships between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and communities to build trust and encourage the reporting of hate crimes and hate incidents. As part of the initiative, US Attorney Karam hosted a meeting yesterday with an audience of diverse law enforcement agencies and community leaders from across the midstate.

“The foundation of our democracy is that we all have equal protection and equal opportunities before the law,” said US Attorney Karam. “With the increasing number of crimes committed because of a person’s race, the faith they practice, the person they love, or because they have a disability, we recognize the need to engage our community leaders and our state and local colleagues Reach Law Enforcement Build a Partnership to Combat Hate Acts. Through the United Against Hate initiative, we have combined the strengths of law enforcement with community leaders to identify, report, investigate and prosecute hate crimes.”

At this first event, subject matter experts from the United States Attorney’s Office, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania; the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Pennsylvania State Police, the York County District Attorney’s Office, the Anti-Defamation League and other local law enforcement agencies identified state and state criminal hate crime statutes. The audience consisted of groups of community leaders, civil rights activists and organizations, and religious leaders of various faiths. The speakers highlighted the differences between hate crimes and hate incidents and provided options for responding to hate incidents when situations do not constitute a federal or state crime. The speakers also distinguished unlawful conduct from protected First Amendment activities, including distinguishing between protected speech and speech that advocates violence or encourages people to commit hate crimes.

As part of its United Against Hate program, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to work with communities in the Central District of Pennsylvania to expand ties with those communities, advance hate crime prevention efforts, and encourage more people to report hate crimes and hate incidents .

Those who believe they have been subjected to hate crimes or incidents should contact local law enforcement and the FBI. The public can report potential civil rights violations at https://civilrights.justice.gov/report/. Anyone in the Central District of Pennsylvania can also report civil rights violations to the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Pennsylvania Civil Rights Coordinator by calling 717-614-4911 or emailing [email protected]

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