10th Anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act


Good afternoon everybody. Welcome to the tenth
anniversary commemoration of the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd junior
hate crimes prevention act. We’re so glad you could join us in honoring those who worked
tirelessly for passage of the law as well as those now on the front lines of hate crimes
enforcement and prevention I’m Robert Moossy I am a Deputy Assistant Attorney General here
in the civil rights division, and I will be emceeing this event. First please rise for
the presentation of the colors by the Metropolitan Police department ceremonial honor guard and
the singing of our national anthem by Dorothy Williams from the civil rights division please
rise. Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? Please be seated and a real warm thank you
to Ms. Williams and a thank you to the Metropolitan Police department ceremonial honor guard.
Assistant Attorney General for the civil rights division of the department of justice Eric
Dreiband will provide opening remarks. Before arriving at the justice department Mr. Dreiband
was a partner at a major international law firm. He previously served as the general
counsel of the U. S. equal employment opportunity commission the EEOC. Where he directed the
federal government’s litigation of title seven of the Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty
four and several other federal employment anti-discrimination laws. Prior to his EEOC
service Mr. Dreiband also served as deputy administrator of the US department of labor’s
wage and hour division where he directed the federal government’s enforcement of the fair
labor standards act the family and medical leave act and other laws. Since arriving at
the civil rights division Mr Dreiband has made preventing and prosecuting hate crimes
one of his top priorities. Please help me welcome assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband.
Thank you Robert and thank you everyone for joining us today. I’m going to talk about
a few examples of what we’ve seen in the last few years first a peaceful Bible study
at a historically black church in Charleston South Carolina worshippers at Shabbat morning
services in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania an Islamic community in Victoria Texas all interrupted
by violence and those are only a few of the countless modern headlines that describe horrific
shootings and arsons death and destruction it is easy to think of hate crimes as a new
problem but sadly hate is older than America itself our values as a nation are rooted in
our founding history and enshrined in the declaration of independence which boldly proclaims
as a self-evident truth that all of us are created equal. Yet for many of us and many
of those in our history those values did not really exist. As we approach thanksgiving
we are reminded that our nation was settled by Puritans and Pilgrims who left England
because the English monarch. Denied them religious and other forms of freedom harassed them and
sometimes tortured them for their religious beliefs. And yet the pilgrims. And the Puritans
who came to the shores did not always respect religious freedom of others for example. In
Boston in sixteen sixty a woman named Mary Dyer was an English puritan. Who became a
Quaker and when she became a Quaker she violated a law that banned Quakers from the Massachusetts
colony. The suffered the ultimate penalty when she and others were executed in Boston
common for the crime of being a Quaker in Massachusetts. In another of our founding
settlements Jamestown was responsible for the importation of slaves from Africa. That’s
violent legacy and decision split our country as president Abraham Lincoln famously said
four score and seven years after its founding and cascades down through the centuries and
touching us even today. After the civil war the Congress enacted and the states ratified
the thirteenth amendment to the constitution and abolished Slavery but the thirteenth amendment
did not end race related violence. Indeed in May of eighteen sixty five former slave
and civil rights activist Frederick Douglass warned that
even after ratification of the thirteenth amendment quote. Any
wretch may enter the house of a black man and commit any
violence he plays if he happens to do it only in the
presence of black persons. He goes unwhipped of justice. Mister
Douglas’ warning proved. Prophetic later in eighteen
sixty five in the very month that slavery was abolished
Confederate veterans. In Pulaski Tennessee formed a club that soon
evolved into the most violent terrorist organization the
country had ever seen. The Ku Klux Klan murdered thousands
and intimidated tens of thousands of Americans both in
the immediate aftermath of the civil war. And in its
incarnation in the twentieth century. The Clan targeted blacks
Jews Catholics and anyone who supported them. Lynchings by
the clan and by similar organizations occurred
throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Often unabated by state police or prosecutors. The federal
government then had no tools to address the problem of bias
motivated violence. attempts by the federal government to
prosecute such violent acts of bias were unsuccessful because
existing statutes did not adequately cover non government
actors and the courts read into such statues a lack of federal
authority. To prosecute bias crimes into the thirteenth and
fourteenth amendments to the constitution. During the
nineteen sixties Americans witnessed the several racially motivated
murders including the shooting death of civil rights activist
Medgar Evers. In Jackson Mississippi. The murderous
bombing by white supremacists of the sixteenth street
Baptist church in Birmingham. And corresponding deaths of Addie
Mae Collins Cynthia Wesley and Carol Robertson all age
fourteen. And Carroll Denise McNair age eleven. The
executions of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew
Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Philadelphia Mississippi.
And the assassination of doctor Martin Luther king junior on
April fourth nineteen sixty eight. As a result of all this
violence and the dedicated work of many civil rights activist
public officials and other Americans. The Congress enacted in one week
after the assassination of Dr. King on
April eleventh nineteen sixty eight president Lyndon Johnson
signed America’s first hate crimes statute. One statute made
it a crime to use or threaten to use force to willfully
interfere with any person because of race color. Or
national origin and because the person is participating. In a
federally protected activity. Such as public education
employment jury service travel. Or the enjoyment of public
accommodations or helping another person to do so. A
second statute made it a crime to use or threaten to use force
to interfere with housing rights because of the victim’s
race color. Religion sex or national origin and in nineteen
eighty eight Congress added protections for familial
status. And disability. These laws were effective tools for
the federal government. But they did not end violence in
American or empower the federal government to seek
justice for all its incarnations. These laws for
example did not protect houses of worship. And in nineteen
ninety six after black churches burned throughout the south.
Congress enacted the church arson prevention act.
That law authorizes punishment for defacement. Damage and
destruction of religious real property at any house of
worship in a church or mosque. Synagogue or other house of
worship or sacred building. The Congress and the president
amended a law last year to increase its effectiveness. Yet
despite these laws there remained a gap. In federal law.
The nineteen sixty eight laws required proof of both an act
of violence and also proof That the defendant intended to
Interfere with the specified list of protected rights for example
the right to own or occupy a dwelling. This meant that a
defendant might be acquitted. If the defendant successfully
argues that although he had assaulted his neighbor because
the color of his skin the assault had nothing to do with
the neighbor’s house in other words. That he would also have assaulted
his neighbor if he saw him at work at prayer. Or on the
street. Moreover until two thousand nine only one
federal hate crime law covered crimes. Against individuals
with disabilities and non-allowed prosecution of defendants who
targeted the LGBT community. Congress eventually decided.
That these individuals needed protection. In nineteen ninety
eight Matthew Shepard a twenty one year old student at the
university of Wyoming was robbed. Tortured tied to a
fence along a country road and left to die by two men. Who
offered him a ride home from a local bar. The investigation in
Matthew Shepard’s death. Found strong evidence that his
attackers targeted him because he was gay. That same year
James Byrd junior. A forty nine year old African American man
who lived in Jasper Texas also accepted a ride home from three
men. They drove into the remote edge of town. Were they beat
him severely tied him by the ankles to the back of a
pick up truck and dragged him to his death. In the case of James
Byrd Jr. the three men responsible for the killing
were well known white supremacists. But while these
men were. Responsible for brutally killing Matthew
and James were later convicted of murder none of them was
prosecuted for committing a hate crime. At the time Matthew
and James were murdered. Neither Wyoming Nor Texas had
a hate crime law and existing federal statutes did not
include violent acts based on the victim’s sexual orientation
and only covered racial violence. Against those
engaged in a federally protected activity such as voting or
attending school. Ten years ago this month the Congress enacted
and president Barack Obama signed. The Matthew Shepard and
James Byrd junior hates crimes prevention act. This landmark
legislation greatly expanded the federal government’s
ability to prosecute hate crimes. The law enables the
justice department to prosecute crimes motivated by race color
religion. And national origin without having to show that the
defendant engaged in a federally protected activity.
The shepherd bird act also empowers the department to
prosecute crimes committed because of a person’s sexual
orientation gender identity gender. Or disability as hate
crimes. When Congress enacted the shepherd Byrd act it found
and I quote for generations the institution of slavery and
involuntary servitude were defined by the race color and
ancestry of those held in bondage. Slavery and
involuntary servitude were enforced both prior to and
after the adoption of the thirteenth amendment to the
constitution of the United States. through widespread public
and private violence directed at persons because of their
race color or ancestry or perceived race color ancestry.
Accordingly eliminating racially motivated violence is
an important means of eliminating to the extent
possible the badges incidents. And relics of slavery and
involuntary servitude. Congress determined that the incidents
of violence motivated by the actual race color religion
national origin. Gender sexual orientation gender identity or
disability of the victim pose quote a serious national
problem. And that violence disrupts the tranquility and
safety of communities and is deeply divisive. Congress found
the quote existing federal law is inadequate to address this
problem and that a prominent characteristic of violent crime
motivated by bias is that it devastates not just the actual
victim. And the family and friends of the victim but
frequently savages the community sharing the traits
that caused the victim to be selected. Hate crimes are
message crimes these crimes both injure the victims. And have
special emotional and psychological impact on
individuals and communities who share the traits. Targeted by
the crime as Congress found such crimes may intimidate
other members of the victims community. Leaving them feeling
terrorized isolated and vulnerable. Federal hate crime
charges not only fill the gap when state prosecutions
fail to address serious criminal intent. They also
carry significant symbolic value. Such charges recognize
the crime committed was an attack against both a specific
victim. And an attack against an entire community that shares
the victims protected trade. Federal hate crime charges also
send a message to members of targeted groups. That they are
valued members of society and that their protection matters.
today we celebrate Congress’s historic decision
and honor those whose years of advocacy and activism made
passage of the Shepard Byrd hate crimes prevention act
possible. In a speech last Friday Attorney General William
Barr reminded us of the danger of tyranny if our government
becomes quote too controlling. He also explained unless you have
some effective restraint. You end up with another form of
tyranny where the individual enslaved by his appetite for the
possibility of any healthy community life crumbles. Hate
crimes threaten. The health of our community life in a decade
after the passage of the Shepard Byrd act in more than
twenty years after the brutal murders the man for whom it was
named. Prosecuting hate crimes remains a top priority here at
the department of justice. Since its passage ten years ago
the department has used the Shepard Byrd act to charge more than
one hundred defendants. In approximately fifty hate crime
cases and has secured convictions against more than
eighty of those defendants with some cases still pending. These
prosecutions are a key part of the department’s overall hate
crimes prosecution program which in the last ten years has
charged more than three hundred thirty defendants in more than
two hundred ten hate crime cases. Since January twenty
seventeen alone the department of justice has charged
more than seventy defendants for committing crimes
motivated by hate for example. In twenty seventeen the
department brought charges for the murder of. Mercedes
Williamson who was targeted because of gender identity. The defendant
pleaded guilty in federal court in Mississippi and received a sentence of forty nine years.
In another case the department sent a federal criminal civil
rights prosecutor to work with Iowa state prosecutors. To try
two men for the murder of Kedarie Johnson a high school student
attack because of gender identity. The case resulted in
convictions in life sentences for both defendants in two
separate trials. In August twenty eighteen. The defendant
was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to
federal hate and firearms charges. For shooting three men
at a bar in Olathe Kansas. The defendant shot and killed an
Indian engineer named Srinivas Kuchibhotla and
attempted to kill an Indian co worker and a third man who came
to their aid the crime was motivated by race color and
national origin bias. This past year the department moved swiftly to
seek an indictment. After a deadly attack at the tree of
life synagogue in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The superseding
indictment charged the defendant Robert Bowers with sixty three
counts including federal hate crime charges. That attack took
the lives of eleven individuals who were then at worship. and
injured seven others including four police officers. This past
spring. After a shooter killed one and wounded three others at
the Shabbat of Poway synagogue and set fire to the
Dar-ul-Arqam Mosque both in southern California the
department charged John earnest in a one hundred thirteen count
indictment. Included numerous hate crime charges.
This summer James Alex fields junior was sentenced to life in prison
after pleading guilty to numerous hate crimes. Including
the hate crime murder of heather Heyer. and the
attempted murder of twenty eight others. Mister fields
drove his car into a racially and ethnically diverse crowd of
individuals who were then engaged in peaceful
demonstration Charlottesville in August of twenty seventeen.
Now the departments commitment to combating hate crimes
extends beyond criminal prosecutions so in twenty
seventeen the department created a hate crime
subcommittee as part of its task force on violent crime
reduction. Which has since been transformed into a freestanding
department wide hate crimes enforcement and prevention
initiative. Led by the civil rights division the new.
Initiative coordinates the department’s efforts to
eradicate hate crimes and facilitates outreach to law
enforcement agencies and the public. For example this summer
the department hosted a daylong summit on combating
antisemitism that featured remarks from federal leaders
across the government. Panel presentations focused one hate
crimes prosecution anti semitism on campus and how to
combat anti-Semitism on respecting the first amendment
among other issues. In August twenty eighteen the
department’s hate crime initiative convened the first
ever seminar. On investigating and prosecuting hate crimes and domestic
terrorism. And brought together seventy civil rights domestic
terrorism prosecutors. And agents to discuss how to
collaborate better when investigating and prosecuting
hate crimes. That also constitute acts of domestic
terrorism. A year ago this month in October two thousand
eighteen the department’s hate crime initiative convened a law enforcement
round table on hate crimes. The day and a half long
event highlighted in a forthcoming report brought
law enforcement and other leaders from around the country
together with department officials to explore.
Successful practices and challenges in identifying
reporting and tracking hate crimes. At the event the
department announced the launch of a comprehensive new hate
crimes website. Designed to provide a centralized portal
for the department’s hate crimes resources for law
enforcement. Media researchers victims advocacy groups and
other related organizations the website is available at W. W.
W. dot justice dot gov slash hate crimes. And it has
attracted over two hundred thousand visitors since its
launch. Also announced last year was the extension of
significant technical assistance to help. State local
and tribal law enforcement. With hate crimes prosecution and
prevention through the collaborative reform technical
assistance center. Partnership with the international
association of chiefs of police and nine leading law
enforcement leadership and labor organizations throughout
the round table as discussed in a forthcoming report capturing
input from the event representatives from diverse
law enforcement agencies and national policing organizations
engage in collaborative brainstorming and action
planning with federal government leaders. At the
round table law enforcement told us that the single most
important tool the federal government could provide to
improve investigation and reporting of hate crimes. was
hate crime trainings at all levels of law enforcement.
Today I am proud to announce that the department is
supporting development of a comprehensive hate crimes
training curriculum for law enforcement. The Departments COPS
office is working with the collaborative reform
initiative. To develop a training opportunity designed
to support law enforcement response investigation and
reporting of hate crimes. Consistent with the
administration’s guides the course when developed and made
available will be focused on increasing the capacity and
competency. To investigate and accurately report hate crimes in
pursuing the best option for prosecution of perpetrators.
Feedback from the law enforcement round table on
improving the identification and reporting of hate crimes has
obviously been an important catalyst for change. Law
enforcement roundtable participants told us that the
positive relations between law enforcement and the community
encourage the reporting of hate crimes. And that they need
assistance in building and sustaining strong community
police relationships. In response we developed an
outreach and engagement program entitled United against hate.
Cultivating community partnerships. The two phase
program aims to address the under reporting of hate crimes
by community members to law enforcement. In the second phase
the program United States Attorney office will have the
opportunity to facilitate trainings across the country.
Convening a wide array. Of community groups such as
advocacy organizations educators and local leaders
including religious leaders. To Discuss the impact of hate
Crimes and employ strategies to build trust with federal state
local and tribal law enforcement. The ultimate goal
of the program. Is to further hate crimes prevention efforts and improve
the accuracy of hate crime statistics as more people
become willing. To report hate crimes to law enforcement. This
is important because of the number of hate crimes that
constitute domestic terrorism. Individuals who adhere to
racially motivated and other forms of violent extremism
ideology are responsible for the most lethal instrument
incidence among domestic terrorists in recent years.
Violent extremists are increasingly using social media
for the distribution of propaganda. Recruitment, Target selection
and incitement to violence. Strong
law enforcement community bonds are critical to
identifying and stemming this kind of extremism as stated
hate crimes are message crimes our recognition of the tenth
anniversary of the Shepard Byrd act today also sends a
message namely that the department of justice will not
tolerate violence that targets individuals based on actual or
perceived race religion national origin gender
disability sexual orientation gender identity or color. The
passage of the Shepard Byrd act was the culmination of a
struggle that lasted more than a decade. The cause endured only
because the families of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd. Along
with other interested patriotic and dedicated persons and
organizations toiled for years. Many of whom are with us today.
The continued importance and impact of the Shepard Byrd act
is possible only through the incredible efforts of these
people and organizations and those in the law enforcement
community. Both those on the front lines and at the
department of justice prosecution teams here in Washington DC and
United States attorney’s offices across the country. It
is our privilege today to honor those who work day and night.
To ensure that that the promise of the shepherd bird act
protecting all communities against the scourge of hate
crime. Is fulfilled. Let us move forward with a renewed
commitment to the principle. That every American and every person
in America should enjoy equal protection of the laws and should be
free to live and worship in safety. I thank you for your
services to your community and to your country thank. Thank you Eric
that was wonderful remarks I would now like to introduce
Cynthia Deitle Of the Matthew Shepard foundation and
Michelle coals of the civil rights division. Cynthia Ms. Deitle is the
programs and operations director of the
Matthew Shepard foundation and oversees the foundations hate
crimes work. Community outreach and events. She retired as a
special agent with the federal bureau of investigation in
twenty seventeen. After serving twenty two years specializing
in the fields of investigating and prosecuting police
brutality public corruption. Hate crimes and conducting
community outreach she was a fantastic partner of the civil
rights division and was really a critical. Person in the early
days of the Shepard Byrd act in its implementation. Ms. Deitle
will be reading a letter from Judy and Dennis Shepard Matthew
Shepard’s parents. Afterward Ms. Coles will be reading a letter
from the Byrd family. Before I begin I just want to thank Mr. Dreiband and
Mr. Moossy mostly for. Inviting Dennis and Judy Shepard to this
event they send. Their sincere regrets they are
traveling today and unable to attend. I did want to say thank
you for inviting us. Throughout the history of this country
discrimination against someone because of their race religion
sexual orientation. Ethnicity or because of another
characteristic. Has been unfortunately quite prevalent.
Along with that discrimination came violence to remove those
considered other. Our son Matt was the result of that
discrimination violence when he was beaten brutally and left to
die on the outskirts of Laramie Wyoming in early October
nineteen ninety eight. He died five days later. Never
regaining consciousness from the eighteen plus blows to his
Skull. Resulting in a crushed brain stem from which he never
recovered. His two assailants each receive two consecutive
life sentences without parole. In state court. After the trial
is concluded some members of both the Laramie city police
department and the Albany County sheriff’s department
were furloughed to help defray the cost of the investigation
and prosecution of the two assailants. Due to the fact
that Wyoming had no hate crime law. Federal money was not
available to help cover those expenses. Even now more than
twenty years after Matt’s death. Wyoming still is without a hate
crime law to protect its citizens. To this day we are
unable to understand what he was murdered for being gay.
Being gay is not a choice. Matt stood five feet two inches in
height and weighed a mere one hundred five pounds at his
death. Matt spoke five languages and was learning a
sixth when he died. He was a people person. Always wanting
to help others. His dream was to work for the US state
department to help citizens of other countries enjoy the same
rights responsibilities privileges and freedoms he
thought. I repeat he thought he had in this country the country
he loved so much. The country he was so proud of. Matt’s
death was an eye opener for us his parents. We had raised him
and his brother to believe that they could do anything they
wanted in life as long as they were willing to work hard and
make the right choices. We found out that that was true
for only one of our sons but not both. It was then that we
began to learn about the blatant discriminatory
practices against some of the LGBT community. And the
violence that accompanied some of those practices. Even though
both of our sons were born in Casper Wyoming. In the middle
of the United States. And even though they’re both American
citizens they were not considered equal. Our gay son
would not have been allowed the same rights as our straight son.
Our gay son would not have been allowed to marry the person he
loved if that person was another man. Our gay son would
not have been allowed to serve in the military. Not have been
allowed to protect and defend the country he loved. Our gay
son would not have been allowed to adopt. To bring someone into
his home to be loved cherished supported and encouraged as he
was when he was growing up. Our gay son could’ve been fired
from his job simply because he was gay. All these so called
rights of American citizens along with many others that his
straight brother enjoyed but he would never have been allowed
to enjoy. Such blatant discrimination encourages
bullying. Vandalism and other acts of violence. Encouraging
close minded people to push harder against those they
consider different. Because they don’t fit their
preconceived notions of same. And thus are intimidated by
these others. We realize that we could do nothing for Matt.
It was too late for that. However we could do something
for Matt’s friends in the LGBTQ community. So we established the
Matthew Shepard foundation. Our mission is to empower.
Individuals to embrace human dignity and diversity
through outreach advocacy and resource programs. We strive to
replace hate with understanding compassion and acceptance. We
educate the public most notably members of the straight
cisgender community on the lack of civil rights protections for
those who identify as LGBTQ. It was understood that nothing
would be accomplished at the federal level as long as George
W. bush was president. He opposed marriage equality.
Opposed the rights of gays and lesbians to adopt children. I
believed the private organizations have the right to
discriminate against the LGBTQ community. It was understood
that work needed to be done at the grassroots level. To educate
America on the inequities faced by LGBTQ. American citizens.
We worked closely with other people and groups to accomplish
that goal knowing that sometime in the future a person would be
elected president who recognized and understood the
destructive nature of discrimination. and would support
actions the protected all U. S. citizens not just some. In two
thousand eight it happened Barack Obama was elected
president. He understood the historical effects of
discrimination and the need for equal opportunities for all
Americans. After much lobbying and finally verbal public
acknowledgement. A law was passed and signed on October
twenty ninth two thousand and nine. It was the Matthew
Shepard and James Byrd junior hate crime prevention act. The
first federal law to criminalize violence against
members of the LGBTQ community. It expanded protections found
in the Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty four including
some key protections for gender. Gender identity
disability and sexual orientation. It gave federal
prosecutors and state district attorney’s additional options
to pursue to prosecute hate crimes. It also provided
additional funding if needed for local and state law
enforcement in the investigation and prosecution
of alleged hate crimes. Less than two weeks from now we will
celebrate the ten year anniversary of that law. In the
past decade this law was used dozens of times to investigate
prosecute and convict individuals for inflicting
violence against those deemed to be others. It has brought in
additional weapon into the struggle against hate. Helping
to protect all citizens especially those in
marginalized communities who have the most to fear and the
most to lose. Including immigrants racial and religious
minorities and the LGBTQ community. The attorneys in the
civil rights division of the department of justice many of
whom we consider friends. Are the enforcers of this law. You
are the guardians against hate. Discrimination and bias
motivated violence. Since the passage of Shepard Byrd you
been led by four confirmed Attorney’s general. Eric holder
testifying before Congress in support of Shepard Byrd stated
quote One has to look at the unfortunate history of targets
of violence. We have to face and confront that reality end
quote. When referring to the seventh anniversary of shepherd
bird Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated quote we
are concerned with crimes against our LGBTQ brothers and
sisters. We have been active bringing hate crimes cases in a
number of states around the country. I will meet with LGBTQ
youth to reaffirm the departments steadfast commitment
to the rights and well-being of all LGBT Q. Americans end quote.
By contrast then senator Jeff sessions argued against
passage of this law stating quote some are protected groups
and will get special protection under this law.
Attorney General William Barr stated in July that he was
quote deeply concerned about the rise in hate crimes and
political violence that we have seen over the past decade. He
then declared that quote we must have zero tolerance for
violence that is motivated by hatred for our fellow citizens.
Whether based on race sex or creed end quote. While we agree
with him on these points we disagree with this statement
later in that speech when he said quote hate crime and civil
rights prosecutions are important tools. But they
cannot solve the problem on their own. Hearts and minds
must be changed. But that is not always a task to which the
government is particularly well suited end quote Mr. bar
represents the government and he is well suited and has the
power to change hearts and minds. To promote diversity
inclusion and equity among all groups of people and drive out
the forces of hate. As the head of the department of justice he
can take a stand as a member of this administration. To disavow
and condemn any person who fuels the fires of hate with
their words or their actions. He must lead and demonstrate
his refusal to accept hate in all of its manifestations. He
must demonstrate courage even if it means disagreeing with
the administration. So far he has done none of these deeds.
We fight it interesting and hypocritical that he would invite us to this
event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son
and Mister Byrd. While at the same time asking the Supreme
Court to allow the legalized firing a trans gender employees.
Mr. Barr you cannot have it both ways. If you believe that
employers should have the right to terminate trans gender employees just
because they are trans gender. Then you believe they’re lesser
than and not worthy of protection. If so you need not
invite us to future events of the department of justice that
are billed as celebrating the law that protects these same
individuals from hate crimes. Either you believe in equality
for all or you don’t. We do not honor our son by kowtowing
to hypocrisy. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd junior
hate crimes prevention act is the law of the land and is
needed now more than ever. Unfortunately we have seen
government funding and resources shift to fighting
international terrorism. In the decades since the passage of
Shepard Byrd. Despite the fact that hate crimes have led to
far more deaths of Americans here at home. Acts that would
be considered domestic terrorism in so many other
countries. For those of you who are career employees of the
department of justice and truly believe in protecting all
Americans from injustice. Who believe in equal rights and
representation for all Americans. Who fight daily to
protect the freedoms of all Americans we thank you from the
bottom of our hearts. We never doubted your commitment or
resolve to honor our son’s memory and legacy by enforcing
this law. We appreciate all of the assistant United States
attorneys. And F. B. I. agents who have joined our hate crime
training initiatives. We understand how frustrating and
thankless it is when you’re fighting an uphill battle
under today’s political climate. And with little or no
support or assistance from the administration. Don’t give up.
Continue fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves. You
are their most trusted friend adviser confidante and
protector. We don’t want to see another incident or life lost
as we lost Matt. Any loss of life any loss of a job any loss
of desire to work towards fulfilling a person’s dreams and
goals because of hate related words or actions. Is a loss to
local community where that person lives a loss to the
state for that person resides. and a loss to this country. We
look forward to re-focus of the causes of hate crimes. And the
reduction of hate crime incidents as America changes
direction and moves forward towards a more equal and just
country. Respectfully. Dennis and Judy Shepard thank you Thank
you miss Deitle. While the Byrd family is unable to join us
today Louvon Harris miss James Byrd sister sent a thoughtful
letter on behalf of the Byrd family and foundation which I
will read. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd junior hate
crimes prevention act means a great deal to our family. It is
very important to keep awareness of hate related
crimes of any kind on the forefront of our lives and our
society. We would like to thank everyone
who had a part in the passage of this act it was through your
hard work determination and endurance that this momentous
task was finally accomplished. Therefore on this day of
celebration and on behalf of the Byrd family it is our
sincere hope. That this act will continue to be used as a
tool to combat hate of any kind. It will forever remain a tribute to James’ life and his
legacy Legacy once again thank you for your
continued support as we work together to reduce the number
of hate-related crimes through education and enforcement of
this act. Louvon Byrd Harris and the letter is also
available on the back of your programs . Thank you Cynthia and
Michelle and thank you to both the Shepard and the Byrd
families. I would now like to introduce our first
presentation. A modern day lynching United States verses
Dedmon et al. Which is a presentation on the first hate
crime murder prosecution. Brought under the Shepard Byrd act. Leading
off today’s presentation will be Paige Fitzgerald and
Sheldon beer. Page is the principal deputy chief
of our criminal section and Sheldon is a deputy chief in
the criminal section here in the civil rights division. Paige has
been in the criminal section since nineteen ninety nine and
during her tenure she is both personally prosecuted and
supervised many of the sections most high profile cases. Her
awards include the attorney general’s award for exceptional
service the highest level award offered by the department which
she has received twice. In addition to the attorney general’s John
Marshall award the civil rights division’s John Doar award and
the divisions Walter Barnett award. Sheldon beer served as
a captain in the judge advocate general’s corps for the army
before coming to the criminal section in twenty ten. He is
also both personally prosecuted and supervised numerous high
profile civil rights cases. Along with paige he received the
assistant Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for
his work on the case we’re going to discuss today.
the Dedmon case. We are also honored to have with us today
the US District Court judge who presided over the case judge
Carlton Reeves who will provide extended remarks. Judge Reeves
will be introduced more formally by Paige Fitzgerald
after her presentation. Good afternoon. James Craig Anderson
was forty seven years old when he died. He left behind a
mother who he called every morning. A sister two brothers
a partner of seventeen years. and a five year old son who was
the light of his life. He worked at the Nissan plant. He was the
lead tenor in his church choir. He was an avid gardener and
cook he had no known enemies. No one had ever done him any
harm he had done no harm to anyone and yet. On June twenty
sixth two thousand eleven. James Craig Anderson was beaten.
Run over and killed. By a group of young white men and women in
Jackson Mississippi. Three members of that group were in a
large Ford F. two fifty truck. Driven by Deryl Dedmon. And
Deryl Dedmon with the other occupants in his truck.
Saw Mister Anderson in the parking lot. And deliberately
accelerated his truck directly over Mister Anderson causing
his death. This happened in a hotel parking lot. And It was
caught on videotape. We’re going to show you a snippet of
videotape and before I play it I want to let you know that it’s
quite grainy and what you’re about to see will not be gorey.
But it will be shocking. We made the choice to show this
because we thought it was important. To see. It
demonstrated just how quickly almost reflexively. This
incident happened that it was callous deliberate. And done
without a second thought. As you look at the video you’re
going to see on the far right side a yellow sort of
highlighted portion and that’s going be highlighting Mister
Dedmon’s truck. You can see that truck back up as he prepares to
leave the parking lot. And then. Along the line there on
the very far right. You’re going to see a very small almost
undefined figure. Moving from right to left that’s Mr.
Anderson and it’ll also have a highlighted. Circle around him.
And then you’re going to see. Deryl Dedmon’s truck accelerate
directly and deliberately over Mister Anderson and you’ll see
a small white flash as that impact occurs. How and why did
this happen. We had a pretty good idea pretty quickly. Horrified
employees of the metro inn motel in Jackson Mississippi
witnessed what happened to Mr Anderson. Those employees would
tell law enforcement that just before Mister Anderson was run
over. One of the occupants of Deryl Dedmon’s truck a
female passenger yelled out the window explicitly quote F. that
N. before Mr. Dedmon accelerated His vehicle into
Mister Anderson. And that right after Mister Anderson was run
over. Deryl Dedmon yelled out of his truck. White power. As
employees of the Metro inn motel tended. To Mister
Anderson on the ground. As other concerned citizens came
over to see what happened. Deryl Dedmon and the
occupants of his truck drove back past the murder scene.
Pointing out their window and laughing. Ladies and Gentleman what
happened to James Craig Anderson in June of two
thousand and eleven was a modern day lynching and for the
first time we had a modern day statutory tool. To address it. So
Sheldon I went down to Mississippi that summer and we
worked alongside the FBI and United States attorney’s office
to determine whether or not we could gather enough evidence to
show that this murder. Was a violation of our then new
statute our new tool. A new weapon. The Shepard Byrd hate
crime prevention act. And as the federal investigation
unfolded we very soon learned a very disturbing truth.
James Craig Anderson’s death wasn’t an isolated incident.
This group of young white men and women have been going into
Jackson repeatedly. They’ve been harming other individuals.
They’ve been doing it for months. And they had boasted
and bragged about it to dozens and dozens of their friends and
acquaintances and no one reported it. Not to a parent
not to a teacher not to a pastor and certainly not to a
law enforcement officer. No one told. All of this happened in a
modern state capital in two thousand eleven. Now immediately
after the murder of James Craig Anderson the FBI joined with the
civil rights division and United States attorney’s office
for the Southern District of Mississippi to develop a
comprehensive investigative plan. We conducted literally
hundreds of interviews. We interviewed. Friends family
members acquaintances of the targets. School officials and
eyewitnesses to the murder. We issued warrants to Facebook
for Facebook accounts we got cell phone records and text
messages we combed prior police reports for evidence of prior
assaults and prior instances where people were targeted and hurt
We spent dozens of hours In voluntary interviews of the
targets and eyewitnesses and we leveraged factual information we
learned during those interviews to further the investigation.
In the end all ten of the defendants confessed. So over
the course the investigation we learned that over a period of
months this group of ten white young women and men had been
driving repeatedly from a predominantly white suburb
Brandon Mississippi into Jackson Mississippi which they
Called Jafrica. They drove there with the sole purpose of
hunting for people. Of hunting for African American
individuals that they could physically assault. They do
this under cover of night. And they did it over and over again
they did it for fun they thought it was sport they use physical
attacks on these people as a twisted form of entertainment
now not all ten members went on every trip. But some subsets of
this group went on so many occasions that they couldn’t
even remember the specifics of the individual and incidents
except for some which stood out for them in particular. For
instance although on almost all of the occasions they hurled
large glass beer bottles at African American men they
encountered on the street beer bottles they called. Fence
posts. He specifically remember that on at least two
occasions a victim appeared to have been knocked out cold. One
night they purchased a sling shot. Used for hunting and then
drove around Jackson to shoot metal ball bearings at African
American men they encountered on the street. Literally hunting
human beings. Another night they ran across an African
American man on a golf course An abandoned golf course that they
believed to be intoxicated. A group of them left their truck.
Chased him down knocked him to the ground and while wearing
steel toed boots. Beat him and kicked him over and over in the
face head and body until begged for his life. On yet
another night in a precursor to what happened to Mr Anderson.
There was a group in a truck that spotted an African
American individual in a parking lot. And they gassed the
truck towards him forcing him to leap out of the way. To
avoid being struck. James Craig Anderson was their final
victim. Members of the group had been at a bonfire earlier
that evening. When they decided it would be a good night to
return to Jafrica. They met at a waffle house and then seven
of them. Got into two separate vehicles a white jeep. And
Deryl Dedmon’s Ford F. two fifty truck. And headed to Jackson.
When they got there they eventually came upon Mr
Anderson who is in the motel parking lot locked out of his
car. Members of the group. Taunted him. Physically kept
him at the m-Metro Inn parking lot. At one point one
of the defendants in the case John Aaron Rice from behind Mister
Anderson sucker punched him in the face. Causing him to fall
to the ground. Darryl Dedmon and then got on top of. He
began to punch him and punch him and punch him. He beat Mr
Anderson while yelling racially derogatory slurs degrading and
humiliating. When it was over when that physical assault was
over. Members of this group got back into their vehicles. The white Jeep left.
And then Daryl Dedmon. Left the scene but
before he did so. He backed his Ford F. two fifty truck up. He
pointed the headlights directly at Mister Anderson. And he hit the
gas. That truck ran over Mister Anderson it was the one of the
last images Mister Anderson ever saw. He died as a result
of those injuries. The prosecution team ended up
identifying all ten of the young white men and women who
were engaged in this broader based hate crime conspiracy. I
note that Shelly said earlier this was a modern day lynching.
But what’s interesting is that in the past when lynchings tended
to be. A public executions. That were done at least under
the pretense of exacting some form of justice. For some
criminal allegation no matter how specious. But these
defendants. They weren’t even acting under the pretext. Of
exacting any form of justice they were doing it for fun.
They didn’t know anything about Mr Anderson. They didn’t know
anything about any of the victims they didn’t know about
their lives they did know about their loved ones all they knew
was that they were black. And based on that. Based on the
color of their skin. These defendants deemed those
victims. On worthy if they’re very humanity. But in this case
we exacted the right kind of justice. We were able to use
the Shephard Byrd Act in the first prosecution under the
act where someone was murdered. And in this case we convicted.
All ten defendants. Daryl Dedmon the driver of the F.
two fifty who ran over Mister Anderson and who
participated in numerous other acts of violence. John Aryn Rice the
young man who sucker punched Mr Anderson in that parking lot.
And had also participated in multiple multiple other
incidents. Dillon Way Butler a participant and an occupant in
a white jeep on the night that Mister Anderson was murdered.
He astonishingly came from a mixed race family. Kirk
Montgomery the driver of the white jeep on the night that
Mister Anderson was murdered. And a participant on other
assaultive excursions to Jackson. John Lewis Blaylock who is one of
the individuals who helped beat Mister Anderson that night and
had been involved in multiple other incidents including the
golf course night with the steel toed boots. Shelby Richards
Dayl Dedmon’s girlfriend who was a passenger
in that Ford F. two fifty. And who encourage Deryl Dedmon to
run over Mister Anderson and had encouraged violence on
prior occasions. Sarah grace. The other female passenger in
Darryl dead man’s vehicle. Who also encouraged Mr Dedmon to run
over Mister Anderson and also had been. Someone who encouraged
violence on prior occasions. Jonathan Gascamp who participated in
primary in other beatings and was the primary participant in
the golf course beating night. Robert Rice John Aaron Rice’s
brother. Who also participated in numerous other attacks and
was the driver of the car the truck the other night that they
attended run somebody over. And finally Joseph Dominic. He was
involved in the sling shot night and was the one who
purchased that device. Now we would not have been able to
charge these defendants with federal hate crime before the
enactment of the Shephard Byrd act. In addition to substantial
imprisonment sentences we were able to secure a restitution
amount. Of eight hundred and forty thousand dollars for the
family of James Craig Anderson. Now no amount of money will ever
bring back or account for the true value of James Kraig
Anderson’s life but we would hope. That this restitution
order will ease the burden on their family. And this
restitution order will insure that these defendants will pay
for their crimes for many years to come. So we’ve given you an
overview of the facts of this case and now I want to turn
this over to a very special guest. The defendant’s criminal
cases in this situation were brought in federal court they
were brought in the Southern District of Mississippi. The
first three defendants he pled guilty for Daryl Dedmon Jon
Arryn rice and Dylan Butler. Their hearings were presided
over by the judge honorable honorable judge Carlton Reeves
in Mississippi. Judge Reeves was born about nine months
after Mister Anderson and he was raised in Yazoo city
Mississippi. He went on to Jackson state university where
he graduated magna cum laude and then he went to the
university of Virginia. Where he receive the Ritter prize for
exemplifying honor character and integrity. He served as a
staff attorney for the Mississippi Supreme Court. And
then went into private practice and then was the chief
of the civil division of the United States attorney’s
office. Before becoming the second African American federal
judge from the state of Mississippi. He’s ruled on a
number of important cases involving civil rights and
equality. And he is the two thousand nineteen recipient of
the university of Virginia’s Thomas Jefferson foundation
medal. Judge Reeves’s impassioned remarks the
sentencing this case moved everyone who heard them. He
noted the historical significance of this
case to the state of Mississippi. I am deeply
honored and absolutely delighted. To have judge Reeves
with us here today to talk about the impact of this case
on him and on the state of Mississippi please join me in
giving a very warm welcome to judge Reeves for [Applause] . General Drieband
***. Everyone here. I must say that I am
deeply honored. And humbled. To be here today. It is also a day of
reflection. Commemoration. And a day when we pause to think about.
What it is that this department of justice does- who are these
folk who make up our department of justice. And just on behalf of whom.
Do these folks get up every day. To change the lives of all
Americans. I could not be here today without thinking about. A
former Solicitor General. Who has as a private lawyer. I say
private but we all know. He was a public lawyer. He was a people’s
lawyer. He walked through these halls. No one argued more cases
and had more victories here. At the US Supreme Court. Victories
that had such an enormous effect on the lives of every American
today. As a lawyer. Then Solicitor General. And as a
justice on the Supreme Court. He understood that African
Americans had been enslaved By law. Emancipated by law.
Disenfranchised and segregated by law. And it was finally
through. His efforts and so many others. We began to win
equality. By law. Along the way he said new constitutional
principles have emerged to meet the challenges of a change
changing society. Others would replicate what Thurgood
Marshall’s strategies to expand the reach of the Fourteenth
Amendment. It was the Fourteenth Amendment that
reconstructed and breathed new life into the phrase we the
people. Because of his advocacy we the people truly means all
the people. I bring you greetings from Mississippi. A
state you just may have heard about. A state that John Doerr spent
too much of his time in and we are grateful for that. A state
that benefited so much from you the foot soldiers who were
trained in these halls. The foot soldiers who got up every
morning. The foot soldiers who spent days weeks and months
away from their families. In the name of justice. Whether in
the voting section seeking to enforce the voting rights act.
What Gordon Martin junior. Who who also walked these halls
called the greatest civil rights legislation since
reconstruction. John Doerr and a group of rag tag people from
here the foot soldiers committed lawyers in this civil
rights division. When it was in its infancy they came down to
Mississippi. And they would bring the case of United States
versus Theron Lynd. A case that helped to bring about the
passage of the voting rights. It was the first case. Brought
to trial in Mississippi by the justice department. Thank god
it was not the last case. Taking on as judge Martin said
a seemingly omnipotent registers denial of the right
to vote to African Americans. I bring you greetings from
Mississippi. A place where the education section came down to
add life and meaning to the supreme court’s most noted
decision brown versus board of education. I bring you
greetings from my Mississippi. The state were citizen soldiers of
this justice department have spent countless hours seeking
to enforce the fair housing act. So you say what are you talking
about your Mississippi and what happened way back then. Because my
Mississippi. The one of the state that has represent one of the
most prominent scars on this country. Has benefited so much
because of you. Its native sons have benefited is native
daughters. The mere mention of just some names evokes emotion
anguish and pain. Emmet. Medgar. Fannie Lou. Cheney. Goodman. Schwerner.
Damon. Mary. Merly. And yes the names that bring you angst and
constellation. Barnett. Bilbo. Easle. Beckwith. Avance. Bowers.
Cox. Other states too have given us names we shall never
forget because Emmet now sits with the angels next to him. Hattie Mae.
Carol. Cynthia. Denise. there are others Viola. Louisa. Otherina Lucy.
there are those ruby bridges Minnie Jean. Melbert.
they’re others. But part of the commemoration today adds a
new name. James Craig Anderson. I bring you greetings from
Mississippi the place where Paige Fitzgerald and Sheldon Beer. Foot
soldiers would come to do justice. James Craig Anderson’s
life was cut short. Cut short in a very painful way. His
blood has been added to the soil the soil drenched by the
blood of so many others his name has been etched into the
history books along side the names of those children. Who
had to have seen. The agony in his eyes. The look of
bewilderment on his face. A Face contorted by fear. confusion.
Horror and pain so when you asked me to participate in this
commemoration I hope that I can answer that question that I
raised during those sentencing. How could hate. Fear. Or Whatever it
was that transformed gentile god fearing god loving
Mississippians into mindless murderers and sadistic torturers.
What could of caused them to act in such a deadly way? that
was the question that with throughout my mind the entire case
of this trial what could have caused them to alter their lives
in the way that they did- as I sat there that day thinking
about. What-as I sat there those days thinking about that
upcoming sentencing- what is it that I could say to them. Their
parents James Anderson’s relatives what could I say I thought
about Ed Brown. Henry Chisin. Yank Ellington. You lawyers
know the case of brown versus Mississippi. It was a case that said
due process clause is applicable to the state and
you can’t beat a confession out of an individual. Well these
guys were arrested for murder in nineteen thirty four on
March thirtieth. The subsequent the subsequent conviction
rested. As the Supreme Court said. Solely upon confessions.
Shown to have been extorted by offices of the state by
brutality and violence the beatings began on March thirtieth.
Next guy was arrested on the thirty first the beatings
commenced. April first nineteen thirty four more beatings April
second nineteen thirty four. Testimony I think I heard some
confessions. April third nineteen thirty four the grand
jury was convened April fourth nineteen thirty four the grand
jury returned an indictment April fourth nineteen thirty four the
defendants were arraigned April fourth thirty April fourth
nineteen thirty four the defendants were appointed
counsel April fifth nineteen thirty four their trial
began April sixth nineteen thirty four their trial ended
April sixth nineteen thirty four. They were sentenced to
death. The transcript in the Supreme court explained read more like
ages torn from some medieval account than a record made
within the confines of modern civilization. so as I thought
about what it is that I could say. What it was that I could
do I thought about. Myrlie Evers And the very first sentence in her book
for us the living. Somewhere in Mississippi lives the man who
murdered my husband. Murdered in his car port after attending
a rally at church murdered before he could kisses children
on the cheek or the forehead and kiss his wife one last time I
thought about how Medgar Evers. Was still stirring in his grave
thirty years before justice knocked at the door of
his murderer. I thought about in years past how Mississippi was
engaged in a mission to deny my relatives and others like me
they’re inalienable rights life liberty
the pursuit of happiness. I thought about those things.
I thought about those children-children who came to Mississippi as freedom
riders ready to make change in Mississippi. They could vote in
the states where they left but they came to Mississippi to
teach us how to vote to show us how democracy ought to work. And I
thought about. These kids. Children in Yazoo City. Who in
nineteen seventy for the first time black kids and white kids
were allowed to go to school together this is the last day
of the first grade of Annie Elis. as- elementary Grand Avenue Yazoo city
Miss Thorton’s class it was fifty years ago. That
the case of. Alexander versus Holmes county came down. And
then the Supreme Court said all deliberate speed means now. So
when kids went home for Christmas break in nineteen
sixty nine they came back. To integrated setting and it
was in nineteen seventy. In September. These kids started
the first grade together this is the last day of class. You
see smiles on their faces. You see that kids can love each other
you see that kids are all kids having fun so when I thought
about this case. Wondering what went wrong. With these children.
What happened what had they learned because as six year olds. They
didn’t learn anything but love. They didn’t learn anything but fun
they didn’t learn anything but childish things. They learned how
to play together. That group of kids would go on and have Yazoo
City’s first integrated prom That group of kids would go on to
select as its class song as they March across the field
ebony and ivory. That group of kids so when I saw this group
of kids. I had the unenviable task of looking throughout
the court room. And I could not understand. How could hate
fear. Or whatever it was they transformed these gentile god
fearing god loving Mississippians. Into these mindless murders
and sadistic tortures. How could those children embody all
the qualities of the Mississippi. That I had longed
to close a chapter of. That Mississippi that has a tortured
past that Mississippi like this country which has
struggled mightily to re invent itself. These were the
things that was on my mind that day I’m not going to read the
sentences speech you all probably already have. But there is
a portion in there that I do want to read. And actually it’s two
sentences because the first one didn’t get it. But on the day
that these kids. Were sentenced. We talked about history. As
Sheldon mentioned at lunch today he recalls me saying. You need to
sit down. I want to talk to you. Might take a while. The portion
that I want to read to you. Is this. Today. We take another
step away. From Mississippi’s tortured past. And it’s because
of the foot soldiers of This department we move farther away
from the abyss. Indeed. Mississippi is a place in a
state of mind. And those who think they know about her
people and her past will also understand that her story has
not been completely written. Mississippi has a present and we
know Mississippi has a future. That present and future have
promise as demonstrated by the work of the offices within these
state and federal agencies black and white male and female in
this Mississippi they work together to advance the rule of
law. Having learned from Mississippi’s inglorious past
these officials know that in advancing the rule of law the
criminal justice must operate. Without regard to race creed or
color. This is the strongest way Mississippi can reject those
notions those ideas which brought us here today. That’s
the Mississippi I want to portray. That’s the Mississippi we
Want other states to emulate because Mississippi is not
alone. In all the pain and all the grief that it has caused. And
I’m going to open with. A Solicitor General. In this. Esteemed department
of justice this Solicitor general who
also said I wish I could say. That racism and prejudice were
only distant memories. We must dissent from indifference we
must dissent from apathy we must dissent from fear the hatred
and the mistrust we must descent because America has no
choice but- to do better. And finally I’m going to close with
Thee Attorney General an Attorney General who served
these United States and he was the Attorney General on April
fourth nineteen sixty eight. When Dr Martin Luther king was
killed he got word on his plane or train or wherever- whatever
mode of transportation he was on that day. He got word that he had been
assassinated. And Kennedy stopped in Indianapolis Indiana. And
after. Hearing what had happened he chucked his speech.
And he spoke to the crowd because they have not heard
didn’t have the internet. They didn’t have Twitter. He said. He
said. In this difficult day. In this difficult time. For the
United States it is perhaps well to ask what kind of nation
we are. In what direction we want to move in. And in light
of all the talk and we’ve seen about. Doing things to people
for all the wrong reasons. Doing hurtful people doing hurting
people for all the wrong reasons because of their race
because of their creed because of their color because of their
religion. It is still appropriate today to ask what
kind of nation are we- in what direction should we move.
Robert Kennedy answered that rhetorical question what we
need in the United States is not division. What we need in
the United States is not hatred what we need in the United
States is not lawlessness. But love. And wisdom and compassion toward
one another a feeling of justice toward those who still
suffer within our country whether they be white or they
be black and I add whether they are Hispanic native American
Asian Muslim Sikh Christian Hindu Buddhist agnostic atheist
gay straight transgender rich poor legal illegal. All of us.
We must not allow those who sew fear those who do acts
like they like was done in that day. We must not allow those
acts to prevail to deny all of us the promise of America. God
bless the souls of Matthew Shepard. And James Craig Anderson
thank you so much [Applause] Thank you Paige, Sheldon and
judge Reeves. We will now hear remarks from Terry Wade the
assistant director of the criminal investigative division
at FBI headquarters in Washington DC. In September twenty
nineteen director Christopher Wray named special agent Terry
Wade as the assistant director of the criminal investigative
division at FBI headquarters. The criminal investigative
division manages and directs investigative programs focused on
financial violent and organized crimes public corruption civil
rights violations and drug related crimes. Mr Wade joined
the FBI as a special agent in nineteen ninety six and served
in a variety of leadership positions and FBI offices
across the country to include Albuquerque Oklahoma City and
of course Washington DC. Assistant director Wade.
[Applause] Thank
you thank you for having me I’m extremely honored to be here to
represent the FBI. On this important day when we recognize
ten years of this historic legislation. Well I think we’d
all agree that it’s disappointing. That we have to have
laws like the Shepard Byrd hate crimes prevention act.
It’s sad that even asked to exist. But I’m comforted by the fact
that it’s helped the FBI our law enforcement partners and
department justice hold those accountable. Who commit hate
inspired acts of violence and- to help keep our community
safe. Unfortunately even in two thousand nineteen we still
confront people use hatred to take violent action against
others. Because of where they come from. How they worship.
What they look like or who they love. That’s why we’re here
today to acknowledge the important work of those who
oppose hate and help create the Shepard Byrd Act. And It’s equally
important find opportunities like today to meet one another.
To talk about what we’re seeing. And to find new ways. To work
together and improve. In the FBI our mission is a simple one
It’s to protect the American people and up all the
constitution. One of the core things that we do as part of
that mission. Is protect civil rights preserve the civil
liberties. Of those that we protect it’s at the heart of
everything we do. It’s long been one of the F. B. I.’s
investigative priorities and that will never change. Hate
crimes strikes at the heart of who we are as a society. It
strikes the heart of every community in this great nation.
And it certainly strikes at the heart of every individual who
is targeted because of who they are and what they believe. It’s
the FBI’s responsibility to do everything we can from our
investigative capabilities to strong partnerships to community
out reach. In an effort to stop these acts of violence. We are
a society that cherishes our freedom of speech. Even if it’s
speech that we don’t agree with. Everyone has an opinion. And
some of those opinions are louder and more aggressive than
others. And that’s okay because it’s part of the American
experience. What’s not okay. Is those instances where words quickly turn
to violence. Where hate speech turns to hate crime.
So with that we have to do everything in our power to
bring those to bring those to justice who commit. These heinous
acts of hate. We continue to investigate hate crime with every
tool every investigative technique and every resource at
our disposal and our agents our analysts are good at what they
do. Our efforts to identify and stop hate crime consist of
three primary components. First we coordinate with our state and
local partners in their hate crime investigations even when
we aren’t pursuing federal charges and that’s something I want to
talk to you a little bit more about. We’re here to talk about
this legislation on this important anniversary but it’s
not the only tool in our prosecution toolbox I mean our
investigative tool box. Mr Drieband cited some
important statistics about how often this statute’s been
utilized and those are important it’s- crucial this particular
legislation. But it’s important to note some important
byproducts of that legislation and the attention that’s been
paid to it. And that is those statistics alone do not capture
the importance of the attention has been paid to this there are
times for different evidentiary reasons different investigative
reasons different prosecutor guidelines the different
statutes even different venues are better served than just
this statute it’s not always possible to. To prove this
statute as important the statute is. However one of the
great byproducts of this legislation was the light that
it focused on these type of investigations. It’s enabled
the FBI to reach out to our state and local partners. And
engage in training engage in out reach on how important these
types of investigations are. So for us there may be a time that the
best venue for prosecuting a crime could be at a local
district attorney’s office and that’s fine if we are prosecuting a
case in. Comanche county Oklahoma with the district
attorney’s office where I’m from. Or if the better venue
for a particular offense is in the Southern District of New
York in the United States attorney’s office. It doesn’t
matter to us in law enforcement and should matter to any of us.
Who gets the credit or how these things come about. What
is important is making our communities safer and holding
those accountable. Who commit these crimes. And I think that
the- overall importance of this legislation can’t be overstated
in that fight. And I applaud all of those who. Made that
come to be and who continue in that fight ten years later. The
second component that I like to talk about is that we’re working
with civil rights minority groups and faith communities to
build trusted relationships share information. Talk about our
respective concerns and find a way forward. Third we’re
hosting training sessions as I alluded to earlier for local
law enforcement minority religious organizations and
community groups so that everyone has a better
understanding of what hate crime is. How the FBI can help.
In summing it up. I’d like make- have a few quick notes. We know
that as a law enforcement agency we can’t eradicate
hate. We can’t eradicate prejudice or change the
minds of small minded people. But we can stand together to
keep people safe. And strong and hold people accountable for
their illegal actions. For our part in the FBI we’re going to
keep doing the right thing in the right way. We’re going to
keep building relationships with all of you sharing back
the best practices and building on our collective successes. We’re
proud to stand with all of you fighting to protect those who
can’t protect themselves. Who want to live free from
oppression for simply being themselves. We have a lot of
work to do. A lot of things before us. We continue to stand on
side of fairness and equality and the freedoms upon which
this country was founded. And we all will be safer if we continue
to do so. Most importantly we need to continue to stand
together in this fight. Thank you again for having me here.
[Applause] Thank you assistant
director Wade. We will now hear from our second presentation a
panel entitled uniting against hate cultivating law
enforcement community partnerships. This panel will
be moderated by Catherine Sullivan the principal Deputy
Assistant Attorney General in charge of the office of justice
programs. Prior to leading the office of justice programs
Ms. Sullivan served as the acting director of the office
of violence against women and before that service to Colorado
state trial court judge in a deputy district attorney in
Colorado. Mrs Solomon. Thank you Robert, thank you. Yeah hello and
good afternoon everyone I first wanted
to give a special thank you to assistant Attorney General Drieband
thank you so much thank you for hosting thank
you for being a great leader of our civil rights department and
I wanna also obviously thank Attorney General Barr again for
hosting this and for being such a strong advocate
against all forms of violent crime but particularly
those. That affect our most vulnerable populations so
without further ado let’s go ahead and get into our panel I
had an opportunity prior to today not only to read what
each of these esteemed individuals have done but also
to have some time with them to talk to them. About what
brings them here today and what their passion is. And I think that
really the thread that works through this panel is this idea
of increased collaboration. And I have to say that we’re going
to start with Phil Keith Phil is the head of the C.O.P.S office
and that stands for the community oriented policing
services office. He has a ridiculous amount of experience
in the field of both working for the major city
chiefs but also heading up a law enforcement agency in
Tennessee I don’t want to say how many years Phil because
that wouldn’t be fair but- I know that your collaborative
reform project in your training and technical assistance that
you’re partnering. With I.A.C.P on is something that you feel
very passionate about so could you. Kind of get the ball
rolling and tell us about that initiative.
Sure. Thank you Kate that was a nice way of saying I’m old. When
you’re born in the first half of the previous century you are
old. But with that comes some hopefully some experience and
wisdom and as Katie mentioned through the guidance we receive
from General Barr. In his directives as well as the
presents executive order and February of a two thousand
seventeen. C.O.P.S office is vested to support the
department’s position and strategies on reducing violent
crime. And specifically hate crimes. So. To cut to the
chase so to speak our role. In the initiative is to develop
training and technical assistance for state local and
tribal law enforcement. What that involves is we have a
collaborative reform initiative that we fund to the I.A.C.P along
with. Principle stake holders who represent the law
enforcement field the F.O.P N.A.P.O I.C.P national sheriffs
association. Major county sheriffs and major city chiefs and
there are others. With those stake holders our mission
through our collaborative reform is to provide assistance to
chiefs and sheriffs across the country. That best suits their
needs not what we think here in Washington but what they need
in order to attack violent crime and other issues. So that
collaborative reform funding allows police chiefs and
sheriffs to seek training and or technical assistance to meet
their individual needs in their individual communities. Within
that delivery vehicle we have looked very carefully at
hate crimes and so our role is to develop. Training they can be
suited for law enforcement much like Assistant Director Wade mentioned
from the F.B.I’s. Governed by a certain engagement
so most of you know law enforcement is our society’s
referees they’re not the first stop on the conveyor belt
they’re the last stop. When everything else fails law enforcement’s called
to the scene. Our role is to identify. That mission what we
give law enforcement in the way of tools that when an Act is passed it doesn’t always
carry. Skills and necessary competences law enforcement needs to do their job. So at the
C.O.P.S office we’ve examined the issues. Some states have hat crime statutes there
are other States don’t have hate crime statues
there’s a federal statute. And so each of those require
different skill sets. For those of us who worked ink law and law
enforcement we know for example if we’re going to take a gun
case to a state court. There’s certain statutory
requirement elements of the offense if you will. That we
have to take that case to the state court. But Taking that same
gun case to a federal court requires a lot more. And so we
have to be able to train the law enforcement field up. If they
expect to take. A gun case federally on what those
elements required. Same with hate crimes except this a
disadvantage a lot of states don’t have hate statutes.
So our default position is the federal statute. And so we have
to train up if you will the law enforcement staff that
serve our communities across America. On what. The requisite
requirements are. To identify hate crimes investigate them
report them. And carry out their mission. So at the cops
office. What we’re trying to do through collaborative forms is identify about
three fundamental buckets of training if you will one is
focused on. Awareness and basic identification of hate crimes
both for law enforcement. And for communities because as the
assistant director said there’s a lot of hateful speech that
doesn’t rise to the level. Of a statutory violation. So we’re
gonna roll have one focus on. Orientation and
another focus on general education races and
competency in law enforcement. From the line officer
through the chief or sheriff. On what they need to know about
hate crimes and specific to their state and their
jurisdictions. And then the third area would be on increasing the
investigative. Skills a lot of times you’ll hear. Discussions
around well we need to have the detective or the investigator
to do. The investigation well in America policing. Eighty to eighty-five
percent of law enforcement to have fewer than
fifty officers. So the first responding officers is also the
investigator is also the evidence collector is also the
person who prepares that case for the DA or for to take it
federal so our focus again is to give law enforcement the
skills that. It needs in order to investigate such crimes and
so Katie It’s a it’s a lot but we think that it’s very similar to
what we were tackling. With domestic violence when I was a
young rookie in nineteen seventy domestic violence wasn’t
treated very well in this country. Fifty years later
we still haven’t finished the finish line as direct- as AG
Barr often says law enforcement’s involved in a battle where
there’s never going to be an endgame. There’s never gonna be
an end victory. So we’re in for the long run so how we did with
dealt with domestic violence. Over the last fifty years is
somewhat like what we’re going to be dealing with hate crimes
today. Is it’s going to take a migration as assistant
Director Wade said we can’t change the minds of people who
are warped and have hate. But what we can do is train our professional
law enforcement. With the skill sets they need to
investigate and collect the evidence and and find the
correct. Venue to prosecute the case.
So I just want to follow up on two things one
quickly the round table so that a year ago right there was a
round table with the role Of law enforcement and community
organizations policy makers our partners like our I.A.C. P. and
other law enforcement association partners is that
correct yes and out of that there was. A real request from
local law enforcement that they- get training in how to
investigate a- hate crime in order to have a successful
prosecution. Is that I’m just checking-. Yes, I think it’s one
thing to talk about it at thirty thousand feet but if
you’re the officer responding to that incident. You need to
know specifics this is not for. The faint at heart or you have to
know the facts you have to know how. To create ev- how to
preserve evidence how to collect evidence how to treat
the victim. There’s a lot that goes into it so that was a that
was one of the specific recommendations that came out
of the group is to. Provide that training so and then like
to take. That a step further is the idea that there’s states which we’ve
heard today that do not have hate crime laws on the books. Those cases then have to be
elevated up to our U.S. Attorney partners correct? But your first point of contact is
going to be a local law enforcement officer, they need to investigate in a way that a
U. S. attorney can go head or foot soldiers at the judge
so beautifully put it. And then are able to take and
successfully prosecute that crime in federal court right so
yes that’s- that’s part of the working together which leads
beautifully into Gerri Ratliff so Ms. Ratliff is
the deputy director of the community relations service.
That is an office here at the department of justice. CRS
plays an important role in DOJ’s ongoing efforts to
strengthen relationships. Between local communities and
law enforcement communities and so there’s a lot of very cool
things that C. R. S. does. Gerri’s obviously much more
adept at talking about them. But but I was hoping that you could
talk about the US attorney trainings that are going to be
rolled out because- it. Fits in so perfectly with what Phil was
saying is going on at the local level. Thank you Katie so
absolutely CRS as many of you. Know supports what
communities communities are doing locally to prevent and
respond to hate crimes. And I do want to put in a plug to the
out reach program that Assistant attorney general Drieband
mentioned in his opening remarks. That is that an out
reach program that CRS has been a part developing. As a component
of the hate crimes enforcement and prevention initiative. And
it fits in very well with our work helping communities
strengthen. Their relationship with law enforcement developing.
That trust which will lead to better reporting. The training is
going to be the outreach program. Is starting with the phase one
a hate crimes training. That’s going to be piloted very
soon in the Northern District of Georgia so if we have anyone
here who has community groups in the Georgia area northern
Georgia. Who might be interested let me know
afterwards this training is going to be put on by the US
attorney’s office in the Northern District. And it in
its developed for community groups who want to learn more
about. You know what is the federal hate crime how come not
every bias incident rises to the level of the federal or
even a state hate crime how do I know the difference how do I
report it. And then it’s also geared toward having space to
just strengthen those relationships between the
community groups and the federal and of course state and
local law enforcement that’s so important to. All of our work
to prevent and respond to hate crimes. That’s great thank you
so much and then you are also part of that round table year
ago correct. We were a part yes. And what was your would you say was
your biggest takeaway from the last year’s event in October.
Well I think the way that CRS fits into the round
Table’s work on is through as I mentioned our work supporting
communities and law enforcement. As they work to
strengthen that trust in the relationship so we have our
conciliation specialists in the field work all across the
United States to work with law enforcement in
communities who want to tackle that important work of building
trust. Strengthening those relationships and we have both
standard programs where we can be in dialogue sessions that
are geared toward specifically for that locality. Having the
community and the local law enforcement together decide how
to best strengthen that relationship what actions can
they take that will help. Their situation we have programs that
fit right in with the round tables work. Thank you I love
to. Hear that something happens and then there are there’s
follow up and there has been so much in this past year so. I
thank you for that but I do want to move on to Nadia Aziz
thank you so much for joining the department of
justice today. Nadia she is the co director in policy council
for the lawyers committee for civil rights under the law. And
she works very specifically with the stop hate project.
Which I think we talked a little bit and she said that
she loves. Being able to work on one thing and focus on one
thing but at the same time it’s such a difficult topic. And I
love kind of what where you came from because this is
goes to the comment about changing the hearts and minds
of. Of our communities and so you wanted to talk about the impact
of hate. And I think. This is so important to hear so thank
you. Thank you. First I wanted to thank the Shepard and Byrd families for their remarks
today. Cynthia I know we’ve worked very closely with the Shepard Foundation and I
just wanted to say the courage of these two families to turn an incredibly painful experience
into action and advocacy never ceases to amaze me so.
Thank you very much. One of the things we do at the lawyers
committee stop pay project. We also host law enforcement
trainings in conjunction with the Matthew Shepard
foundation. We bring together law enforcement. And prosecutors so
investigators and prosecutors and we always
have a community component. And one of the reasons this is so
critical to our work is because we feel that in order to
establish this trust and build these this trust that is
critical to creating partnerships. We have to first
acknowledge. The climate of fear and hate and the impact it
has on communities. So for example hate crimes don’t just
target an individual they target entire communities so
when Khalid Jabara an Arab American and shot and killed on
the front steps of his family home by. His neighbor it
doesn’t just affect Khalid Jabara and the Jabara family it
affects all Arab Americans. When worshippers are killed in
Charleston or in Pittsburgh. It doesn’t just affect those
worshipers it makes everyone fearful of going to church or
going to their synagogue. And It’s critically important to
acknowledge that. it can be very difficult for communities
understandably so to come to the table to discuss these
things. It’s a vulnerable painful isolating experience but one
thing that’s. Also critical that’s happening right now. Is
that. We’ll talk about data in a minute but it’s so important
to report hate crimes. But if a community member is fearful or is
afraid to make a wellness call to the local law enforcement
for example if they’re afraid it might end in murder.
they’re not gonna record a hate crime to their police department.
So it’s really important that we acknowledge these realities
and having honest difficult conversations is one
way to start to build the collaboration that we need. To
fight hate. Great thank you and thank you for the work that
you’re doing only I have about a hundred follow up questions
but because I’ve already gotten a time signal I do want to make
sure that we hear from everyone. Chief Johnson, Will
Johnson is from Arlington Texas police department. He also has
multiple years of law enforcement experience and it
has been a- police chief since March of two thousand and
thirteen. He also serves as the vice president at large of the
I. A. C. P. and Chief you created a report through your
position and I. A. C. P. an action agenda. For community
organizations and law enforcement to enhance the
response to hate crime. And I thought you could tell us a
little bit about that report. Thank you and thank you to the
department justice for hosting this very important event. Celebrating a
really sad occurrence what happened to the families that are
represented today. I echo the sentiments about the positive strength and resiliencey in which
we can all focus on and move together and shared values
so when we talk about this report it’s true that it was in
partnership with I. A.C. P. but it’s equally important that it was
in partnership with the lawyers committee for civil rights
under the law. Because what we recognize. In law enforcement
are a couple fundamental facts. And that is hate crimes are
crimes against society their crimes against humanity. And
they’re a crime in which the victimization that occurs is
far beyond the initial target of that. That act. And whenever
those cases are brought into the court room. The direct
victim might be represented in that court room. But there are
many other victims within the community whose names are not
going to be on any of the documents but are equally gonna
be harmed by that act. And so what we wanted to do as a
as a local law enforcement official I’m in the community
every single day and I see this this pain and frustration and
hurt that’s occurring because of these crimes. And people want
to see tangible actual things that they can touch see feel
that is in direct response to us addressing this scourge in
society. And by the production of this report not only from
law enforcement’s perspective but also from the civil rights and
activist’s perspective. You can demonstrate to communities that
we don’t have to be in 100% agreement on every single topic
to have absolute agreement on shared goals and work together.
And one of the greatest challenges we have in society
right now is if I disagree with you on one point. And I agree
with you on fifty points I’m not going to work with you
on those fifty points because I’m so focused and entrenched on my
one point of disagreement. And if we truly want to have movement in
society and help protect our communities we have got to move
beyond that as a society. This report helps us do that let’s
focus on the things that we absolutely. Believe in
together. Better education better training better
understanding in the community about what hate crimes are.
When I heard the judge’s comments about these kids and
how did they change. The mere fact that hate incidents. Have
the same impact as hate crimes in communities but they don’t
have the same legal proceedings. And we as we as communities
have to be able to come together to address these hate
incidents with the same rigor and vigor and leaning imposter.
As we do on hate crimes. An absent a kind of collaborative
strategy we won’t be able to do that and that’s what this
report gives us is a shared collaborate strategy to accomplish that goal
Thank you so much chief and I did have an opportunity to
read that report and What I loved one of the things I loved
about it was that it’s Five action points here the five things we
need to do and- and to give that direction to law
enforcement in our community organizations is so great so
thank you and thank you for your passion in this issue. And
Michael Lieberman from the anti defamation league Washington
council is next. Michael has been with the ADL since
nineteen eighty eight. He is director of the ADL civil
rights policy planning center. Brilliant guy very focused on
data. And so I know that you want to talk about this ever
important impact on data. Yeah thanks I. I. Admit to being a
little bit of a data geek on hate crime. And what we
know from the FBI I think. I want to also associate
myself with the incredible honor to the- Shepard family
and to the Byrd family the courage to come forward to stay
with it as we work for thirteen years. To get the- legislation
passed but I think it would not have been passed but for the F.
B. I.’s work on. The hate crime statistics act. We know from
the hate crime statistics act. The most recent data from
twenty seventeen there was something like seven thousand
one hundred and seventy five. Hate crimes reported by over
fifteen thousand law enforcement agencies across the
country but I think for the advocates. That number seven
thousand one hundred and seventy five is very hard to
get your hands around the thing that matters to us. Is one.
What happens to the one is law enforcement prepared able ready
to respond to the individual hate crime victim and I think
the- the outreach that. Director Keith is talking about
in terms of training law enforcement is incredibly
important the leadership from Chief Johnson incredibly
important and it takes too. You’ve got to have law enforcement
that they can identify. Be Trained to identify report and respond and
you also have to have community members that are willing to
call the police to report that they’ve been the victim of a
hate crime. If marginalized targeted community members
immigrants people with disabilities LGBTQ community
members Muslims Arabs people with limited
language proficiency. Cannot report. Or do not feel safe
reporting then law enforcement cannot effectively address
these crimes so takes two and that’s why the data that we can
build on. the nature and magnitude of the problem
problem is really important and it is a way forward to know how
to go forward yeah I think. In talking to all of you and then
hearing these comments together and unfortunately we just
don’t. Have anymore time but the what I get is that these
are difficult conversations that there’s that there that
the solution is to is to have the difficult. To have the
difficult meetings in the difficult conversations Chief
Johnson you have indicated that. It can be that sometimes
people aren’t even coming to the table to begin the
conversation but if we had one thing to really encourage I
think everybody would agree. It’s That we have to start to listen
to each other whether it’s through an intermediary like
Nadia’s program. Whether you know it’s with this
collaborative program of director Keith’s through any one
of these ways. What we have to do is buckle down and start to
look at things in a joint manner start to build bridges of trust. I
always like to leave on somewhat of a hopeful note
that’s why we have these summits right is so that we can
hear not only about the problem but look at. What are
the next steps chief Johnson again I think that your report
is very informative and kind of gives us direct action steps
so I appreciate that. And I appreciate all of you joining the
Attorney General and the assistant Attorney General Drieband
here at the department of justice so thank you very much.
[Applause] Just a few closing
remarks and on our program will conclude assistant Attorney
General Drieband opened his remarks today recounting our
history as a nation built on a government that strives to
secure liberty and equality for our people. He described how
our government and we as its agents have over time wrestled
with and responded to hate crimes that harm our fellow
people. And also harm our federal governments core promise
of liberty and equality for all. We heard from many of our
speakers that hate crimes come in many forms murder arson
assaults threats. But regardless of the form of violence they all
have one thing in common. Hate crimes of any kind injure our
common sense of liberty and justice. The core values we ask
our government to secure and in specific our federal government
to secure. Recognizing this fact and to the advocacy and
dedication of the Shepard and Byrd families and so many in
this room and others our Congress ten years ago enacted
the Shepard Byrd hate crime prevention act. Today you heard
about what that law has done. The federal government has
prosecuted horrible acts of hate crime violence. We have as
a whole department. Partnered with state and local law
enforcement to help local authorities identify and
prosecute hate crimes. We have helped state local law
enforcement and you heard today from chief Johnson that they
have helped us in this important work. In the panel
Ms. Sullivan moderated on law enforcement and community
partnerships. You heard how we’ve work with communities across
our nation to heal the wounds hate violence has left behind. And
as the presentation by our prosecutors and judge Reeves.
Explained you heard how the Shepard Byrd act allowed the
family of James Craig Anderson and the people of Mississippi
to know that our government our department of justice would
call out hate violence for what it is would respond to it.
Acknowledge its gravity and acknowledge the destruction
wrought on that family and entire community and that we
would prosecute that crime. Well today’s commemoration
honors the past today we also recognize the work to fight
hate crimes that is happening right now. Right now as you’ve
heard our prosecutors FBI agents and state local
authorities are working on matters involving hate violence
that have been traumatic to our nation. Thanks to the Shepard
Byrd hate crime prevention act the department of justice has
strengthened its hate crimes prosecution program in the
department is affirming our government’s commitment to
safeguarding liberty and equality. In place is in places
were hate violence has struck. Like Pittsburgh. Like
Charlottesville Kansas South Carolina we’re there. And when
hate violence harms the community we need to do more
than prosecute the Shepard Byrd hate crimes prevention act
established a critical foundation for the federal
government’s important role in supporting local law
enforcement and local communities you heard today
about the department’s work to support our local communities
from representatives of our office of justice programs our
community relations service. Our community oriented policing
service. Working on their own and through the department’s
ongoing and productive hate crimes enforcement and
prevention initiative. We also heard that in order to heal the
wounds of hate violence in our communities we must improve on
the identification and reporting of hate crimes. And
we’ve increased training of federal state local law
enforcement officers to ensure that hate crimes are identified
and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. In all of this
work. I want to acknowledge the important work of our partners
in the non governmental organizations many of whom are
here today. Who contribute so meaningfully to this work. You
advocated for this law over for over a decade. And since two
thousand and nine you stuck with us through support.
Through constructive criticism. To help us implement the
Shepard Byrd act and we thank you for that. In conclusion on
behalf of the hate crimes enforcement and prevention
initiative we thank all who spoke from the heart today and
made this commemoration so meaningful. We also thank
particular individuals without whom this anniversary could not
have happened including Gerri Ratliff and her wonderful team
at the community relations service especially melody
Caprio Phong Dinh and Julie Vianello and their whole
team managed all of the logistics behind this event. We
really want to thank Shelia Furan and her excellent team
for the policy and strategy section especially Michele Kato
I’m sorry Michele Coles. And also for the critical work on the
deliverables we mentioned today we want to thank Phil Keith the
director of our cops office and his staff. Especially Nasmia
Comrie. And a final note of gratitude goes to all of those
including many in this room. Who continue to serve on the
front lines in the battle against hate crimes. Now more
than ever this work matters. Thank you and this concludes our
commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the Matthew
Shepard and James Byrd junior hate crimes prevention act