The Department of Justice announced a new initiative aimed at combating hate crimes in Buffalo, New York. Earlier this year, a white gunman shot and killed 10 people in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo.
The United Against Hate initiative will “directly connect” federal, state, and local law enforcement with marginalized communities in a bid to foster trust, strengthen coordination and encourage hate crime reporting.
Through the United Against Hate Initiative, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices will host outreach and community engagement programs to address and prevent unlawful acts of hate over the next year. Sixteen of those districts will roll out programs as soon as this fall.
One of the first programs being rolled out imminently is in the Western District of New York in the aftermath of the Buffalo shooting.
Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced that the United Against Hate program will convene local forums that connect community groups to federal, state, and local law enforcement to increase community understanding and reporting of hate crimes; build trust between law enforcement and communities, and create and strengthen alliances between law enforcement and other government partners and community groups to combat unlawful acts of hate.
“The horrific events of May 14 took the lives of 10 members of our community because of their race, just because they were Black,” Trini E. Ross, U.S. attorney for the Western District of New York, said.
“This type of race-based hate is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in this community or in our society,” Ross said.
The 18-year-old accused of committing the mass shooting in Buffalo has pleaded not guilty to 25 criminal charges against him. The charges include one count of domestic terrorism motivated by hate.
The shooting is being investigated by the FBI as a hate crime and as a case of racially motivated violent extremism.