Gov. Paterson Reveals Recommendations of Hate Crimes Task Force
Governor David A. Paterson today announced the release of the Hate Crimes Task Force recommendations to help New Yorkers better respond to and prevent bias crimes. The task force, which the Governor established in January 2009 following a series of bias-motivated attacks across the State, outlined a multifaceted approach to addressing the issue. The proposals include the development of curricula for students and school staff; enhanced training for law enforcement on hate crimes; and the implementation of a consistent approach that agencies and community-based organizations should adopt when responding to victims.
“We in New York cannot and will not allow bias and ignorance to infect our communities and deny our citizens the respect that they deserve,” Governor Paterson said. “I am grateful to the members of the Hate Crimes Task Force for their thorough examination of this issue and look forward to reviewing their recommendations for both how to respond to and stop bias-motivated crimes in New York.”
Commissioner of the Division of Human Rights Galen D. Kirkland said: “I believe Governor Paterson’s initiative breaks new ground by establishing a comprehensive response to hate crimes involving law enforcement, schools, and social service agencies. The recommendations will allow us to expand our coordinated efforts to better identify hate crimes as well as assist and protect victims, their families and communities.”
Secretary of State Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez said: “I commend the Governor and the Hate Crimes Task Force on taking a bold stand to ensure that this State will not tolerate odious crimes against any individual based on race, religion, sexual preference, country of origin, or language that he or she chooses to speak. New York State is committed to implementing best practices and protocols in law enforcement training, as well as the health and human services sector. The crimes against José and Romel Sucuzhañay in Brooklyn, Lateisha Green in Syracuse, and Marcelo Lucero in Long Island indicate much has to be done. Therefore the Hate Crimes Task Force is recommending an educational and preventive approach by developing a tolerance curricula to be used in schools across the State.”
Deputy Secretary for Public Safety and Division of Criminal Justice Services Commissioner Denise E. O’Donnell said: “Hate crimes victimize entire communities, and therefore entire communities need to stand up to combat this insidious evil. The Task Force recommendations wisely incorporate educational components, training components and essential services for victims in a comprehensive, community-based strategy. These proposals would help ensure that students, school staff, law enforcement authorities and service organizations – all important elements of the community – join together in the battle against racial, sexual, religious and gender bias.”
The task force developed programs intended to address several components of the bias crime issue, as reflected in the three subcommittees: Education and Outreach Subcommittee; Immigration Subcommittee; and Training Subcommittee. The task recommended that the State:
- Encourage and support the development of curricula on hate crimes for students and school staff;
- Create and implement a “hate crimes model policy” for police officers that outlines duties and responsibilities when confronted with hate crime;
- Expand hate crimes training for police officers
- Provide additional training initiatives for prosecutors.
- Develop protocols for State agencies and community-based organizations to provide a consistent approach in responding to victims of hate crimes;
- Streamline access to government services for limited English-speaking communities;
- Permit crime victims from immigrant communities to access State services regardless of citizenship; and
- Strengthen hate crime reporting.
The recommendations available on: http://www.ny.gov/governor/press/pdf/press_9815091_TaskForceReport.pdf. The full report will be posted on the Department of Criminal Justice Services website: http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us.
The Task Force includes representatives from the Crime Victims Board, the Division of Criminal Justice Services, the Division of Human Rights, the Department of Labor, the Department of State, the New York State Police and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.
Governor Paterson created the Task Force after bias-related assaults last fall in Staten Island, Long Island and New York City and after meeting with survivors of these devastating crimes. Since then, there has been at least one more high-profile crime allegedly motivated by bias – a plot to plant a bomb outside a Riverdale synagogue – reported in the State. According to the Division of Criminal Justice Services, 596 hate crime incidents were reported in 2008, nearly two-thirds of which involved attacks against individuals. Approximately one-third of the reports involved property crimes, such as bias-motivated acts of vandalism, according to the Division.
“While these violent attacks are a source of outrage, they are also basis for action. I am proud that we have overcome the sense of powerlessness and moved forward with measures to improve how we raise awareness of, treat and prevent hate crimes in our State,” Governor Paterson added.