US Attorney to hold civil rights forum on official misconduct and hate crimes

Arizona’s U.S. Attorney will hold a Civil Rights Forum for Southern Arizona on Tuesday, January 31. The forum will focus on federal civil rights laws, such as official misconduct, new federal statutes on hate crimes, and the investigation and prosecution of violations.

The forum will bring together the faith-based community, local elected officials, the Acting U.S. Attorney, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to discuss the Department of Justice’s role in civil rights matters.

The forum is designed to inform the public about how they can report allegations of police misconduct, about the elements of a hate crime, and what to do if they have been a victim of a hate crime. Additionally, a portion of the forum will focus on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed by President Barack Obama in 2009. The act makes it a federal crime to willfully cause, or attempt to cause, bodily injury to another person with any dangerous weapon because of the person’s race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin.

The Hate Crimes Prevention Act carries the names of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd because both were victims of hate crimes. Shepard was killed due to his sexual orientation in 1996. Byrd, who was targeted because he was African American, was murdered in 1998.

The Civil Rights Forum will be held in the main conference room at the Tucson YWCA, which is located at 525 North Bonita Avenue. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the forum will begin at 6:00 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend.

RELEASE  2012-011 (Civil Rights Forum)