District Attorney creates Hate Crimes Bureau as number of hate crimes rises in Brooklyn
In response to a rise in hate crimes in Brooklyn, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on Tuesday that his office has created a dedicated Hate Crimes Bureau that will investigate any bias-motivated crimes in an effort to help those vulnerable communities.
“Protecting everyone in Brooklyn is my highest priority and it is simply unacceptable that members of certain protected groups are fearful to walk the streets of our borough,” Gonzalez said. “The creation of a dedicated bureau with more resources and experienced prosecutors will help my Office to offer the most adequate response to the growing problem of bias-motivated crimes.”
Brooklyn has experienced a rash of hate crimes recently. Within the last week alone, two people were charged with hate crimes in the borough. One was charged with an assault in Williamsburg on Friday night in which an Orthodox Jewish man was punched in the back of the head, and the other in an attack on a 42-year-old walking to synagogue on Saturday morning in East New York.
A week before, on Nov. 29, a 9-year-old Jewish boy was punched in the face by a teen in Williamsburg in an incident that was investigated as a hate crime.
The DA Office’s Hate Crimes Bureau, which was formerly a part of the Civil Rights Bureau, will be staffed with senior prosecutors who will cover an investigation from start to finish.
Assistant DA Kelli Muse has been appointed the chief of the bureau and Senior ADA Ari Farkas will serve as deputy chief. ADAs Peter Choi, Prabhalya Pulim, Maggie Dunbar and Adrianna Rodriguez will also be a part of the bureau.
The Hate Crimes Bureau will assist in investigations of crimes that are suspected to be motivated — at least in part — by race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation of the victim.
They will also conduct independent investigations, outreach and public education sessions in targeted communities.
According to the DA’s Office, it has handled more than 70 cases of hate crimes in the past two years. The office added that the top targeted groups in Brooklyn have been LGBTQ individuals, Jewish people and African Americans.
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