THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESIDENT CLINTON HOLDS HATE CRIMES STRATEGY SESSION WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS, ANNOUNCES NEW HATE CRIMES REPORTS
President Clinton, joined by the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights will meet today with state, local, and federal law enforcement officials to emphasize the need for federal hate crimes legislation and to highlight successful partnerships between various law enforcement offices in prosecuting hate crimes. This strategy session is a follow-up to the White House Conference on Hate Crimes held in November 1997, where the President announced the creation of Hate Crimes Working Groups led by U.S. Attorneys across the country. Several U.S. Attorneys will report today on the progress their working groups have made thus far. The President will also announce 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 -- he will also renew his call for passage of an expanded federal hate crimes law.
STRATEGY SESSION WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS. In his strategy session today, the President will hear from a range of state, local, and federal law enforcement officials about the need for federal hate crimes legislation. These law enforcement officials will emphasize that their work can be buttressed and made more effective by a broader federal role. They will also describe specific instances of hate crimes where local and federal law enforcement officials, working together, agreed that it was best for federal prosecutors to handle the cases. In addition, several U.S. Attorneys will brief the President on their Hate Crimes Working Group activities, including better cooperation with state and local law enforcement, training efforts for law enforcement officers, and work with community groups.
URGING PASSAGE OF EXPANDED FEDERAL HATE CRIMES LAW. The President today will also make the case for expanded federal hate crimes legislation. In particular, he will urge Congress to pass the bipartisan Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1999. 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. The new legislation would remove this restriction on prosecutors and would make such acts of violence illegal even if they did not interfere with federally protected activities. In addition, the legislation would punish hate crimes based on a victim's sexual orientation, gender, or disability. Current federal law does not cover such cases.
ANNOUNCING LOCAL PROSECUTOR'S HATE CRIMES GUIDE. The President today will announce that the American Prosecutors Research Institute (APRI), the research affiliate of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) is releasing "A Local Prosecutor's Guide for Responding to Hate Crimes." This guide will help local prosecutors prevent and respond to hate crimes. Copies will be distributed to prosecutors' offices throughout the country upon request. The guide covers several issues that arise during hate crime prosecutions, such as: (1) working with outside agencies and organizations; (2) case screening and investigation; (3) case assignment and preparation; (4) victim and witness impact and support; (5) trial preparation; (6) sentencing alternatives; and (7) prevention efforts. By highlighting model protocols and procedures from offices around the nation, the resource guide will help prosecutors' offices develop policies and procedures on handling hate crime investigations and prosecutions. It also will provide a comprehensive roadmap to individual prosecutors who are handling hate crime cases. APRI, which is supported by funding from the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance, established an 18-member advisory group which includes 10 local prosecutors, as well as representatives from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Anti-Defamation League, the Center on Hate and Extremism, the National Center for Victims of Crime, Facing History and Ourselves, a county sheriff's office, the FBI, and the DOJ Community Relations Service.
ANNOUNCING PROMISING PRACTICES GUIDE. The President today will also announce a new guide called "Promising Practices Against Hate Crimes: Five State and Local Demonstration Projects." This monograph, the second in the Bureau of Justice Assistance's Hate Crimes Series, examines five BJA-funded state and local programs that are among the nation's most promising models for confronting and reducing hate crime. The five initiatives discussed are the Simon Wiesenthal Center's National Institutes Against Hate Crimes in Los Angeles, the Victim Assistance Project in San Diego, the JOLT (Juvenile Offenders Learning Tolerance) Program in Los Angeles, the Civil Rights Team Project in Maine, and the Governor's Task Force on Hate Crimes in Massachusetts. The first program provides training to criminal justice professionals, the second addresses the emotional and practical needs of hate crime victims, and the last three focus on bias among youth, with an emphasis on removing hate from public schools. In early May, approximately 8,000 copies will be mailed to a cross-section of law enforcement and other criminal justice practitioners. Copies will also be available through BJA's clearinghouse (1-800-688-4252) and website (www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJA).