FAIRFIELD, Conn. – In a message to state residents Wednesday, U.S. Attorney for Connecticut Deirdre M. Daly urged all people to “stand up to hate.”
“This Thanksgiving, particularly after our highly contested presidential election, is a time to reflect on our country’s bedrock principles,” Daly said in the statement. “These values include our commitment to tolerance and cultural understanding, our celebration of diversity and our respect for our fellow citizens, no matter their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or political viewpoint.”
According to Daly, such values have “given way to hatred” in the past year – particularly in the past few weeks.
Locally, the U.S. attorney cited several recent examples of racism and bigotry that led to criminal acts in places like New Haven, where swastikas were painted on windows and doors at Wilbur Cross High School; Ridgefield, where a synagogue received swastikas and pictures of Nazis through the mail; Windsor Locks, where a Jewish man was harassed because of his faith; and Meriden, where two men attacked a man holding a sign in support of President-elect Donald Trump.
Daly continued with several other examples, including incidents in Danbury and East Windsor.
Nationally, the U.S. attorney pointed to recently released 2015 statistics from the FBI that showed a 67 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslim Americans as well as increases in crimes against Jews, African Americans and members of the LGBT community. Overall, Daly said, hate crimes were up by 6 percent over the 2014 tally.
Citing the statistics, Daly said 44 law enforcement agencies in the state reported 93 hate-related incidents in 2015.
She then reiterated her office’s commitment to enforcing hate crime laws aimed at protecting “vulnerable minorities” before urging law enforcement agencies across the state to report hate crimes.
”…(W)e cannot understand the true scope of the problem without accurate reporting,” she said. “My office is encouraging those local law enforcement agencies who do not participate in reporting hate-related incidents to the FBI to join the 95 agencies statewide that do.”
Daly ended her letter with a direct request of all Connecticut residents.
“Above all, I ask each of you to take a stand against hate,” she said. “Serve as an ally if you witness harassment or, worse, violence against your fellow citizens. Record video of incidents that can be used for investigations. And most importantly, report any incidents to your local police department or to the FBI. Your vigilance can help us ensure the freedom to which all Americans are entitled.”
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