Congressional Black Caucus calls on Trump administration to invest in prosecuting hate crimes

Congressional Black Caucus calls on Trump administration to invest in prosecuting hate crimes
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Tuesday urged the Trump administration to direct more resources toward investigating hate crimes against minorities.

In a letter to the heads of the Department of Justice, FBI and Department of Homeland Security, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) cited recent reports in Washington, D.C., of nooses hung at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Hirshhorn Museum and on the American University campus.

Another member of the CBC, Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenTlaib asking colleagues to support impeachment investigation resolution Winners and losers from Mueller's initial findings The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Mueller report is huge win for President Trump MORE (D-Texas), has also faced lynching threats after he called for President Trump’s impeachment. 

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“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,” Richmond wrote to Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Should the media apologize to Donald Trump? After Mueller, Democrats need to avoid the Javert trap Mueller probe: A timeline from beginning to end MORE, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. “That is why I implore you to dedicate additional resources within your respective agencies to address the increasing frequency of these deplorable acts.

“Your leadership is required to not only bring justice to the victims of hate crimes, but also to send a clear message that these acts of domestic terrorism will never be tolerated in this country.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center tracked 1,094 bias-related incidents in the month following Trump’s election victory in November. The nonprofit legal advocacy group estimated that about 37 percent of the incidents directly referenced Trump or his campaign slogans.

Democrats have tried to push for a legislative response to recent crimes apparently motivated by racial tensions.

Earlier this month, Rep. Bennie Thompson (Miss.), the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, called on the panel to hold a hearing on domestic terrorism.

A week earlier, two people were fatally stabbed in Portland, Ore., when they tried to stop a man from yelling anti-Muslim slurs at two young women. 

"You call it terrorism. I call it patriotism," the suspect, Jeremy Christian, said during a court appearance.

Thompson, who is also a CBC member, has introduced legislation that would authorize $30 million in federal grants to help secure nonprofit groups from terror threats. The bill has not moved forward since Thompson unveiled it in March.