Hate Crimes Surge Globally, Yet Remain Under-Reported: Study

Despite claims by law enforcement that people who are most susceptible to hate crimes are “hard to reach” populations, a UK study finds that victims would report incidents to officers if they didn’t feel barriers were insurmountable.

Hate crimes—violence and micro-aggressions directed towards people based on their identity, “difference” or perceived vulnerability—are surging world-wide, even as many victims seem to prefer suffering in silence rather than report the offense, according to research published in the September issue of the British journal Criminology & Criminal Justice.

Neil Chakraborti, head of the Department of Criminology and director of the Centre for Hate Studies at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, analyzed data from more than 2,000 hate crime victims of all kinds throughout the world and found a confluence of factors that stops victims from reporting incidents.

Victims view reporting as a waste of time both for themselves and police because they believe officers don’t grasp the seriousness of hate crimes and are more with tackling different types of crimes. Victims’ previous negative experiences—or those shared by family members, friends and members of their own community— with police also can reinforce a lack of trust to report hate crime incidents, the paper said.

“As a result, most victims tended to normalize their experiences of repeat harassment and hostility as a routine feature of being ‘different,’ which in turn reinforced their sense of alienation,” Chakraborti wrote.

Furthermore, the lack of engagement from law enforcement and support organizations reinforce victims’ reluctance to report hate incidents. Despite law enforcement’s position that people who are most susceptible to hate crimes are “hard to reach” populations, the author finds that victims would report incidents to officers if they didn’t feel barriers were insurmountable.

Furthermore, Chakraborti argued that community engagement strategies commonly fail to involve those most affected by hate crime.

He called for immediate action to fix failing systems.

“Without urgent action, hate crime victims will continue to reject opportunities to report their experiences; will become increasingly detached from support structures; and will continue to have little faith in criminal justice responses,” Chakraborti warned in the article, which was first posted online late last year.

More than 14,000 hate crimes were recorded by police forces in England and Wales between July and September 2016. Similar spikes occurred in the United States, France, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands, and fewer than one in four hate crime victims report incidents to the police, according to author.

The author cites “trigger events” as possible initiators of hate crime and cites a Southern Law Poverty Law report indicating Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency as a trigger event for racial hate crimes in the United States.

According to Richard Rothstein, a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and author of the book “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America,” racial hate crimes can be curbed by dismantling systematic residential segregation.

“If people live so far distant from each other and have such different life experiences, they don’t understand each other, and that feeds racial intolerance,” Rothstein told The Crime Report in a recent interview.

A copy of Prof. Chakraborti’s study is available for purchase here.

This summary was prepared by TCR news intern J. Gabriel Ware. Readers’ comments are welcome.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Right and Left Face Off in OR; Harsh Words but Few Injuries

A protest face-off in Portland between the right-wing Patriot Prayer and left-wing antifascists resulted in little violence. A few injuries were reported when police used flash-bang grenades to disperse a crowd.

The concussive crack of stun grenades echoed through the streets of downtown Portland Saturday as groups on opposing sides of the political spectrum took to the streets. But despite weeks of heated rhetoric, the protest — which was organized by right-wing Patriot Prayer and countered by groups on the left — resulted in little violence between the two groups, reports the Oregonian. The protest, billed as a rally for free speech and campaign event for Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer and Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Vancouver, Wash., saw hundreds of his supporters, many of whom came from out of state, bussed in from across the border decked out in helmets, crash pads and shields festooned with the Confederate battle flag.

They were met by counter-protesters from a coalition of organizations on the left including a group called Popular Mobilization, which formed recently specifically to counter Gibson’s protest, another group dressed up as clowns and a cadre of antifascist activists commonly known as antifa. Police kept the groups separated–close enough to hurl insults, but too far to throw punches. The biggest dust-up came when police in riot gear ordered a group of counter-protesters to disperse around 2 p.m. Officers used flash-band grenades and rushed the crowd, shoving some protesters out of the street. Some projectiles were thrown at police, one of which hit Eder Campuzano, an Oregonian reporter. Several people claimed injuries, and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said Sunday each claim would be investigated.

from https://thecrimereport.org

White Nationalists Face Divisions Over Aug. 12 Rallies

The alt-right hopes to hold rallies in Charlottesville, Va., and Washington, D.C., on the anniversary of last year’s shocking demonstrations. But the key organizer says fear of violence and internal bickering likely will tamp down attendance.

White supremacists hope to hold rallies on the Aug. 12 anniversary of  last year’s demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., that turned into a riot that left one woman dead and shocked the nation, reports USA Today. They hope to focus on “white civil rights” with rallies in Charlottesville and Washington, D.C. But the alt-right faces internal divisions and seems unlikely to rally in the same large numbers as last year. Jason Kessler, who organized the 2017 event under the banner “Unite the Right,” was denied a permit to gather in Charlottesville this year. He will fight that decision in a court hearing Tuesday. In Washington, Kessler’s permit application for an Aug. 12 rally received initial approval, and details are being worked out. Only American and Confederate flags–and no neo-Nazi paraphernalia–will be allowed at the D.C. event, Kessler said.

“What I’m really trying to do is start a new movement,” Kessler said. “I feel like the ‘alt-right’ has been a symbol for neo-Nazism.” Kessler said he expects fewer people this year. “A lot of people are going to be very scared for their safety,” he said. The group also faces internal struggles to turn an Internet-focused movement into a viable political force. “I think the hope was that they would step away from their computers and enter into real politics,” said George Hawley, a University of Alabama professor who has written a book about the alt-right. “And that was not the result.” ThinkProgress, a left-wing website, has reported that white nationalists are bickering over the details of the planned demonstrations. “The Alt-Right is poor, disorganized and lacking in conviction,” Kessler wrote in a May 13 Facebook message.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Hate Crimes in 10 Largest Cities Rose Last Year

The number of hate crimes reported in the 10 largest U.S. cities jumped in 2017, marking four straight years for an uptick in such incidents. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University finds a decline this year so far.

Miami Beach police charged a man Monday with attempted arson after he threatened to burn down a condominium and “kill all the Jews” inside. On July 12, a Los Angeles woman beat a Hispanic man with a brick and told him to go back to his country. In June, a man harassed a woman in Chicago in a public park for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rico flag on it.  Hate crimes are increasing in many cities, USA Today reports. The total number of hate crimes reported in the 10 largest U.S. cities jumped in 2017, marking four straight years for an uptick in such incidents. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University found a 12.5 percent increase in incidents reported by police in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego and San Jose, Ca. The number of hate crimes reported in those cities totaled 1,038, up from 923 in 2016.

In New York, nearly half of hate crimes last year were committed against Jewish people. In Los Angeles, gay men were targeted most. In Boston the largest demographic hit by hate crimes were African Americans. Brian Levin, co-author of the report, attributed the increases to greater “incivility” in politics, citing policies such as President Trump’s travel ban from several majority-Muslim countries. National events can also encourage these types of crimes, says Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center. After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, crimes against Muslims were rampant, she said. The FBI reported 8,063 hate crimes in 2000 and 9,730 in 2001. The Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism forecasts a decline in hate crimes for the first half of 2018 from last year. “You didn’t have the kind of conflicting election that you had in 2016 or a big terrorist attack,” Levin said.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Hate Crime Reports in California Up Third Straight Year

Experts blamed the increase after seven years of decline on President Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric toward minorities and the resurgence of hate groups in the state.

Reported hate crimes increased across California for the third straight year in 2017, an uptick experts blamed on President Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric toward minorities and the resurgence of hate groups in the state, the Los Angeles Times reports. There were 1,093 hate crimes reported in California in 2017, a 17.4 percent increase, says the California attorney general’s office. Hate crimes have increased annually since 2014, jumping roughly 44 percent in that three-year span. More than half of the hate crimes reported in California last year involved racial bias, and about 27 percent involved animus toward black people. Hate crimes targeting victims based on race, sexual orientation and religion all increased sharply.

Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino said changing demographics in California and the increased presence of organized hate groups in the state have combined to drive up hate crimes in the state in recent years. “I think people, particularly with bigots, they are now more emboldened and we are seeing this across a spectrum of data points,” Levin said, citing “bigoted social media posts” and “white nationalist rallies across the nation and in California.” Hate crimes had been trending downward in California for years. Reported hate crimes in the state decreased every year from 2007 to 2014, reaching a low of 758 alleged incidents. The attorney general’s report, which relies on reporting from local police departments, may not capture the entire increase. This year, a state audit found several large law enforcement agencies in California — including the Los Angeles police and Orange County Sheriff’s departments — were not properly tracking hate crimes.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Feds Add Hate Crime Charge in Virginia Protest Killing

James Alex Fields, accused of killing a woman and injuring dozens of others last summer by plowing his car into a crowd protesting white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., was indicted on federal hate crime charges. The case was closely watched by civil rights activists who were unsure if Attorney General Jeff Sessions would pursue it.

James Alex Fields, who was accused of killing a woman and injuring dozens of others last summer by plowing his car into a crowd protesting white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., was indicted Wednesday on federal hate crime charges, the Wall Street Journal reports. The case was closely watched by civil rights activists who were unsure if Attorney General Jeff Sessions would pursue such charges. A grand jury indicted Fields, 21, on 30 charges, including one count of a hate crime resulting in the death of Heather Heyer, 32, and 28 other hate crimes involving attempts to kill other people. The final count was for racially motivated violence at a protest.

All the victims were protesting an August 2017 rally that drew hundreds of white supremacists to Charlottesville, Va., to oppose the removal of a Confederate statue. The victims were counterprotesters, many of whom held signs promoting equality and denouncing racism. President Trump was criticized in many quarters for  suggesting an equivalence between the white supremacists and those marching against them. On Wednesday, Sessions spoke of the Justice Department’s determination to enforce civil rights. The murder charges Fields faces in Virginia already carry the prospect of a long sentence, so the addition of federal hate crimes charges could be largely symbolic. Civil rights activists were pleased with the Justice Department’s action, though some said they had doubts about the Trump administration more broadly, given its approach to such issues as gay rights.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Some Police Mislabel ‘Anti-Heterosexual’ Incidents

The FBI has a category of crime called anti-heterosexual hate crime. The FBI counted 142 of them over seven years reported by local police departments, but on closer examination, none of them seem to have been provoked by anti-heterosexual bias.

When a gay man in Columbus, Oh., was threatened by a man using a homophobic slur, police acknowledged his concern that the incident may have been motivated by bias, but they got a key detail wrong in their incident report: They mistakenly marked it as a case of anti-heterosexual harassment, reports ProPublica. Since 2010, Columbus police have reported six incidents that list bias against heterosexuals as the purported motivation. That’s more than any other local law enforcement agency in the nation reported during that period. Columbus Police Department Sgt. Dean Worthington acknowledges it’s likely that the officers who filed the reports marked the wrong box.

Those reports made their way from Columbus to the FBI, where they were compiled with thousands of others into the Uniform Crime Report. Every year a small number of anti-heterosexual hate crime reports end up in the UCR. From 2010 to 2016, the FBI reported that local law enforcement agencies noted a total of 142 of them. ProPublica reviewed dozens of these reports, and found few, if any, actual hate crimes targeting people for being heterosexual. ProPublica sent Freedom of Information Act requests to every law enforcement agency that reported a heterosexual bias crime in 2016, and was able to locate records for 58 cases. None described hate crimes spurred by anti-heterosexual bias. As with the case in Columbus, about half were actually anti-gay or anti-bisexual crimes that were miscategorized. Seven cases appeared to reflect other types of bias, with victims targeted because they were Jewish or black or women. Some 18 cases don’t seem to have been hate crimes at all. The findings show that many local law enforcement agencies do a poor job tracking hate crimes. It’s a problem that can leave policy makers blind when grappling with the problem of hate crimes and bias incidents.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Black Nationalist Hate Groups Expanding, Report Says

Black nationalist groups expanded to 233 chapters in 2017, from 193 the previous year, reports the Southern Poverty Law Center. Even with the growth, black nationalist groups lagged far behind the more than 600 hate groups that adhere to some form of white supremacist ideology, and they have virtually no supporters or influence in mainstream politics.

The ranks of black nationalist hate groups – groups that have always been a reaction to white racism – expanded to 233 chapters in 2017, from 193 the previous year, reports the Southern Poverty Law Center. Even with the growth, black nationalist groups lagged far behind the more than 600 hate groups that adhere to some form of white supremacist ideology, and they have virtually no supporters or influence in mainstream politics, the center said.

Within the white supremacist movement, neo-Nazi groups saw the greatest growth – from 99 groups to 121. Anti-Muslim groups rose for a third straight year. They increased from 101 chapters to 114 in 2017, growth that comes after the groups tripled in number a year earlier. Ku Klux Klan groups fell from 130 groups to 72. The decline is a clear indication that the new generation of white suprem­acists is rejecting the Klan’s hoods and robes for the hipper image of the more loosely organized alt-right movement. The overall number of hate groups likely understates the real level of hate in America, because a growing number of extremists, particularly those who identify with the alt-right, operate mainly online and may not be formally affiliated with a hate group. “President Trump in 2017 reflected what white supremacist groups want to see: a country where racism is sanctioned by the highest office, immigrants are given the boot and Muslims banned,” said Heidi Beirich of the center’s Intelligence Project. “When you consider that only days into 2018, Trump called African countries ‘shitholes,’ it’s clear he’s not changing his tune. And that’s music to the ears of white supremacists.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Suit Seeks To Pin Blame in Charlottesville White Rally

A lawsuit testing First Amendment issues contends that the alt-right movement is responsible for injuries and a death at the Virginia rally. Defendants say the case is aimed at silencing them and destroying them financially.

After last summer’s white power rally in Charlottesville, Va., erupted into violence, the planners of the protest claimed that they had a First Amendment right to self-expression, and that none of the bloodshed was their fault. That narrative of blamelessness is now being tested in the courthouse. In a direct assault on the alt-right movement, a lawsuit contends that the leaders of the Charlottesville gathering engaged in a conspiracy to foster racial hatred, and are legally responsible for 30 injuries and the death of Heather Heyer, the New York Times reports. “There is one thing about this case that should be made crystal-clear at the outset,” the suit says. “The violence in Charlottesville was no accident.”

The 15 individual defendants and the groups they represent have filed motions to dismiss the case in federal court in Charlottesville. The nine plaintiffs — students, clergy members and local residents who say they were hurt — have accused the event’s leaders of plotting to deprive them of their civil rights by encouraging followers to arm themselves and partake in violence. The defendants — an array of neo-Nazis and old-line pro-Confederates — have ridiculed the charges as an act of “lawfare” maliciously intended to silence them and destroy them financially. “The goal here is to break us and keep us from taking to the streets,” said Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. “That should concern all Americans, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum.” The case is likely to explore the limits of the First Amendment’s free-speech provisions and the principle that incitements to violence are not protected. It was filed by New York lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who successfully argued the United States v. Windsor case in which the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.

from https://thecrimereport.org

CA College Killings Called Start of ‘Alt-Right’ Deaths

The Southern Poverty Law Center says Elliot Rodger, who killed six students in 2014, was the first of a series of 13 “alt-right killers” who have murdered 43 and injured 60 in the last four years. The perpetrators were all men, mostly under 30.

Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who killed six students in the college town of Isla Vista Ca., in 2014, was the first “alt-right killer” to strike in recent years, says a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, quoted by the Los Angeles Times. The report counts Rodger among 13 alleged alt-right killers whose actions left 43 people dead and more than 60 injured since 2014. The alleged perpetrators were all men and most were under 30, the report says. The common thread: All participated in the “far-right ecosystem that defines the alt-right.” One of them made several references to Rodger before carrying out his attack last year.

William Edward Atchison used the pseudonym of “Elliot Rodger” online and praised the “supreme gentleman,” a moniker Rodger gave himself that became an alt-right meme. Atchison, 21, entered a New Mexico high school on Dec. 7 and killed two students before taking his own life. The list also includes Dylann Roof, the white supremacist convicted of fatally shooting nine black members of a Bible study class in South Carolina in 2015. The Law Center says the “timeline for alt-right killers began on May 23, 2014.” On that day, Rodger killed six people before shooting himself. The slayings started in an apartment he shared with two of his victims. Deputies said Rodger left his laptop on and open on his bed; on the screen was the YouTube page where Rodger had just uploaded his video titled “Retribution.” He also posted a 137-page autobiographical essay that laid out his motives and his racist beliefs. “How could an inferior, ugly black boy be able to get a white girl and not me? I am beautiful, and I am half white myself,” Rodger wrote. “I am descended from British aristocracy. He is descended from slaves.”

from https://thecrimereport.org