LOS ANGELES – During the coronavirus pandemic, the Justice Department is continuing its mission to detect, investigate and prosecute wrongdoing. United States Attorney Nick Hanna and FBI Assistant Director in Charge Paul Delacourt today stressed that a crucial part of this mission is ensuring that all citizens are free from harassment or discrimination because of their ethnicity.
“Federal law enforcement is dedicated to working with our colleagues on the state level and the entire community we serve to prevent acts of bias, especially violent acts or threats,” Mr. Hanna said. “Everyone in the United States has felt the effects of the ongoing emergency, and we want to ensure that no one suffers further disruption due to fear, prejudice or xenophobia.”
“While we are made up of many ethnicities and backgrounds in this country, particularly in a multi-cultural city like Los Angeles, we must always be cognizant that we are all Americans and must respect the fundamental civil rights which unite us,” said Mr. Delacourt, who is in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI is concerned about the potential for hate crimes by individuals and groups targeting minority populations whom they wrongly believe are responsible for the spread of the virus. While the FBI routinely reaches out to community organizations in the areas we serve, we want to reach the community directly by asking anyone who has been victimized by a crime inspired by hatred or discrimination to contact their nearest FBI office to make a report.”
There is a significant disparity between hate crimes that actually occur and those reported to law enforcement. It is critical to report hate crimes not only to show support for the people directly impacted, but also to send a clear message that the community will not tolerate these kinds of crimes. Reporting also enables law enforcement to fully understand the scope of the problem in a community and assign resources toward preventing and addressing crimes of bias and hate.
Members of the public are encouraged to report crimes motivated by bias or hate to law enforcement. If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, call 911. If you believe you have been the target or victim of a hate crime or other violation of your civil rights, please contact your local FBI field office. You may reach the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office 24 hours a day at (310) 477-6565 or you may submit an online tip at https://www.fbi.gov/tips.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office serve approximately 20 million residents in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI have dedicated civil rights units that vigorously investigate and prosecute allegations of hate crimes against victims targeted because of their race or ethnicity.