FBI Reviewing Several Charles County Hate Crime Cases

WASHINGTON - Responding to concerns raised by Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), FBI Criminal Investigative Division Assistant Director James H. Burrus Jr. indicated that he would personally follow-up on an FBI review of several investigations into a series of 25 recent hate crimes directed at racial and ethnic groups in Charles County, Md. However, beyond reviewing existing cases, it does not appear that the FBI will take a more active role in the investigations at this time.

In a letter to Senator Mikulski, Burrus acknowledged that "the FBI is aware of the increase in bias-motivated vandalism in Charles County," and has specifically asked the FBI's Baltimore Office to notify him of the results of their review of several cases. He also assured the Senator that "the FBI is committed to protecting the civil rights of all citizens, whether through FBI investigations or support [provided] to local law enforcement agencies."

Sen. Mikulski's office did not make a copy of the FBI's letter available for inspection.

Earlier this month, Senator Mikulski sent a letter to the FBI, urging Director Robert Mueller to have his "staff investigate this series of crimes to determine how the FBI can help both bring justice to this community and prevent these crimes from happening again." At the time, she wanted the local task force set up by Charles County leaders to have all the available federal resources they needed to examine the increase in hate crimes.

"I am pleased to see the FBI take an interest in this troubling rash of hate crimes in Charles County. Families deserve to know their neighborhoods are safe and free from intolerance and discrimination," said Senator Mikulski. "No one should have to worry about falling victim to these despicable hate crimes. I will continue to work with the FBI and local Charles County leaders to make sure we address this concerning trend."

The leaders of the Charles County National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) brought this issue to the Senator's attention when they met with her earlier this year. Twenty-five hate crimes have recently occurred at a variety of community pillars, including churches, playgrounds, shopping centers and even private homes.

"We need to reexamine what this country must still do to ensure equality every day," said Senator Mikulski. "These dreadful crimes of hate will not be tolerated in Maryland, or across the nation."

Senator Mikulski is Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee that funds the FBI.

Source: Sen. Mikulski's Office


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