COUNTY TO ADDRESS INCREASE IN HATE-DRIVEN INCIDENTS
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to ramp up efforts to prevent hate crimes.
Supervisor Hilda Solis introduced the motion in response to a wave of reports of hate crimes in the county following Donald Trump’s election victory.
The motion directs the sheriff’s department to “swiftly” contact communities likely to be targeted in order to reaffirm the county’s continued support and to open up communication with those communities so that victims feel they can safely report hate crimes and related incidents, particularly those concerned about their immigration status.
County departments, including the LASD will report back in 60 days with a plan on how to better track and quickly respond to hate crimes.
“It seems that standing up for our people’s constitutional rights is going to fall on the hands of state and local governments,” Solis said. “Many families in our county are fearful and we have to assure them that we are here to protect their rights.”
The motion also directs the county’s Office of Education to report back in 60 days with a plan detailing preventative steps to curb “bullying, targeting, demeaning, and harassing behavior” in schools.
“People in the county are being targeted because of their ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and we need to act now. This motion calls our communities to stand in unison and speak out against these acts of bullying, discrimination and hate violence,” Supe Solis said. “We are calling on our Sheriff’s department, law enforcement agencies and County Education Office to help us maintain a safe environment for everyone to work, learn and live in.”
The Supes created a task force to address anti-Muslim acts committed in the months following the 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting. The task force—a group of law enforcement leaders, city and county officials, community groups, and others—spent 2016 developing recommendations for combatting crimes motivated by hate and bias. The recommendations were included in a recently released 2015 Hate Crime Report.
The report found that hate crimes in Los Angeles County rose 24% from 390 in 2014 to 483 in 2015, compared with a 10% rise statewide. Half of the hate crimes were motivated by race.
Last week the FBI released the national hate crime report for 2015, which revealed a startling 67% increase in hate crimes against Muslims.
In the video above, US Attorney General called the report’s results “deeply sobering,” and urged victims to continue to report incidents to local law enforcement and the Department of Justice.
SOLIS PREVIEWS ANOTHER MOTION IN THE WORKS
“Every single one of us has a friend, family member, or a neighbor who is an immigrant, and it is that degree of connectedness that should drive us to do everything possible to protect our immigrant population,” Solis said, previewing a separate motion Tuesday. Among the tasks the second motion will call for, is an analysis of the feasibility of creating a county Department of Immigrant Affairs to protect the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants living in Los Angeles.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell will also have to report back to the board in 45 days on whether the LASD plans to change any immigration-related policies or practices in the event that Trump follows through with his promise to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.
WitnessLA will have more on the motion after Solis submits it to the board in December.