BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Hate Crimes Task Force Nets Results
Supervisory Special Agent Kendrick Williams,
left, and J. Stephen Tidwell, Assistant
Director in Charge of the Los Angeles
field office, during a presentation
of the ADL's Sherwood Prize in February.
statistics tell us there were 7,649 hate crime
incidents reported in the U.S. in 2004. Behind
those numbers are hateful and hurtful crimes
that exact a terrible toll not only on victims,
but on families and communities.
crimes are a top priority of the FBI, part
of our broader mandate to protect the civil
rights of all Americans. And that's why in
communities across the nation, we are joining
more and more local authorities and partners
to combat the problem and roll up perpetrators.
telling example: Riverside County, California,
a mostly desert community on the southern
tip of California where 16 race-related hate
crimes were reported in 2004, one fewer than
a year earlier. Only sprawling Los Angeles
County recorded more hate crimes in the state
in those two years.
the problem, the Los Angeles FBI office in
Riverside County and the Riverside County
Sheriff's Department inked an informal agreement
in November 2003 to create a Hate Crimes Task
Force that would make the most of each others'
strengths—sheriffs' knowledge of their
beats and the FBI's investigative depth. Sheriff's
detectives already worked with our agents
and analysts on a Joint Terrorism Task Force;
carving out manpower to target hate crimes
made sense because of its association with
result: "We're taking a whole lot
of guys off the street," said Kendrick
Williams, a supervisory special agent who
previously worked as the Hate Crimes and Domestic
Terrorism Program coordinator for the L.A.
of the task force's more notable coups was
the arrest of 18 alleged white supremacists
in November 2004 following a four-month investigation.
Among those charged with gun and drug violations
was a Riverside County man who in the course
of helping coach his son's high school football
team allegedly tried to recruit players into
a heavily-armed white supremacist group. The
investigation was triggered by allegations
the man had given steroids to his son and
another teen. A search of his home turned
up a cache of weapons and ammo, body armor,
drugs, and Nazi paraphernalia.
arrests were praised by the local office of
the Anti-Defamation League, which this year
bestowed its "Helene & Joseph Sherwood
Prize for Combating Hate" on Williams,
the Riverside County Sheriff's Department,
and the FBI Hate Crimes Task Force, among
others, for their work in the community.
kind of multi-agency law enforcement operation
can counteract and help prevent the spread
of extremist ideology," said Amanda Suskind,
director of the Pacific Southwest Region of
the ADL, an organization devoted to fighting
FBI field offices work with local authorities
on hate crimes task forces and have incorporated
hate crimes working groups into their community
outreach programs. The groups combine community
and law enforcement resources to develop strategies
to address local hate crime problems.
acknowledged hate crimes significantly impact
the community. And their potential nexus with
domestic terrorism is troubling. "There's
plenty of work out there," he said, which
is why we're coordinating with the Joint Terrorism
Task Forces and working closely with community
partners to combat hate crimes.
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