April 25, 2000: Working with Law Enforcement to Combat Hate Crimes


Tuesday, April 25, 2000


"This year, America needs action. No one should be victimized because of how they look, how they worship, or who they are. We need to work together as partners and as a national community to fight crimes fueled by hate. And we need strong federal hate crimes legislation."

President Bill Clinton
Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Today, at the White House, President Clinton, joined by the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, met with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to emphasize the need for federal hate crimes legislation and to highlight successful partnerships among law enforcement offices in prosecuting hate crimes. The President announced the release of two new resources to fight hate crimes - a local prosecutor's guide to preventing and responding to hate crimes, and a "promising practices" report that describes successful anti-hate partnerships - and renewed his call for passage of an expanded federal hate crimes law.

HOLDING A HATE CRIMES STRATEGY SESSION. In today's strategy session, President Clinton heard from a range of federal, state, and local law enforcement officials about the need for federal hate crimes legislation. The officials emplasized that their work would be made more effective by a broader federal role, and described specific instances of hate crimes that were determined to be best prosecuted at the federal level. Also during today's session, several U.S. attorneys reported on the progress their hate crimes working groups have made thus far, including better cooperation with state and local law enforcement, training efforts for law enforcement officers, and work with community groups. The working groups were announced by President Clinton during the White House Conference on Hate Crimes in November 1997.

ANNOUNCING NEW RESOURCES TO FIGHT HATE CRIMES. President Clinton announced the release of two new resources to aid in the fight against hate crimes:

URGING PASSAGE OF EXPANDED FEDERAL HATE CRIMES LAW. Current law prohibits acts of violence based on a person's race, color, religion, or national origin - but only if the acts of violence are intended to interfere with certain federally protected activities, such as voting or serving on a jury. President Clinton urged Congress to pass the bipartisan Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999, which would remove this restriction on prosecutors and make such acts of violence illegal in all cases. In addition, the legislation would punish hate crimes which were committed because of the victim's sexual orientation, gender, or disability, which current law does not cover.

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