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One year after U.S. Attorney General launched a review at the Department of Justice to review policies to combat hate crimes, Merrick Garland on Friday announced new measures to boost federal efforts. He was speaking in the shadow of last weekend’s racist attack in Buffalo, New York.
Garland pledged the Department of Justice was “deploying every resource we have to ensure accountability,” for the massacre of ten Black people at the Tops Buffalo supermarket.
Watch the remarks in the player above.
“Last weekend’s attack was a painful reminder of the singular impact that hate crimes have not only on individuals, but on entire communities,” Garland told an audience that included Black and Asian American community leaders. The attacks “bring immediate devastation, they inflict lasting fear,” he said.
The attorney general unveiled new guidelines to help local jurisdictions raise awareness of hate incidents and announced new grant funding to help states establish hotlines for reporting crimes.
Friday is also the first anniversary of Congress’s approval of two bills – the Covid-19 Hate Crimes Act and the Jabara-Heyer No Hate Act – that aimed to bring more resources to the federal government’s efforts to combat hate crimes.
READ MORE: After Buffalo, civil rights leaders pitch anti-hate plans
The second bill was named after Khalid Jabara, a Lebanese immigrant killed by a neighbor in Oklahoma in 2016, and Heather Heyer, a counter-protester who was killed during a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017. Members of their families also gave video testimony at Friday’s news conference.
Garland acknowledged Friday’s event was long planned and said no more reminders were needed for the urgency of “our fight against hate.”
“If it’s possible to even further redouble our efforts, something like this can only cause us to do so,” he said.
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