Congress Must Improve Hate Crime Data Reporting

Congress Must Improve Hate Crime Data Reporting

For Immediate Release                 
06/27/2019

Contact: David Card                
202.408.9514 x122
[email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) supports the Khalid Jabara and Heather Heyer National Opposition to Hate, Assault, and Threats to Equality Act of 2019 and its House companion introduced in Congress today.

The NO HATE Act provides incentives for hate crime reporting, grants for state-run hate crime hotlines, and establishes additional penalties for individuals convicted under the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“The current method of hate crime data collection and reporting is not working,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “We have seen statistics year after year showing zero hate crimes in communities where we know they have occurred.”

The bill is named for Heather Heyer who was murdered by white supremacists in the violent attacks in Charlottesville in 2017 and Khalid Jabara, an Arab American man gunned down by a neighbor known to harass Jabara for his Lebanese ancestry. Both crimes were clearly motivated by hate but neither were reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Accurate reporting is a critical tool for law enforcement to prevent hate crimes and to prosecute them when they do occur,” continued Decker. “NDRN thanks Congress for their bi-partisan effort to amend the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to increase Hate Crime reporting.”

The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed nearly ten years ago. NDRN strongly advocated then to have disability included in the Act after years of learning of hate crimes perpetrated against people with disabilities. However, in the years since the law was passed, reporting of hate crimes in the disability community continues to lag behind.

In 2016, NDRN and a coalition of other civil rights organization formed Communities Against Hate — a national initiative to document stories and respond to incidents of violence, bullying, harassment, intimidation, threats and property damage motivated by hate. This coalition provides a safe place for survivors and witnesses to share stories of hate incidents through an online database and telephone hotline.

“People with disabilities are often the first victims of extremists and their hate-filled vision of society,” said Decker. “NDRN will continue to work with the many civil rights groups who share our values of community and inclusion for all until hatred, bigotry, and racism are extinguished for good.”

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.