9/30, Frank Silva Roque was convicted in Maricopa County Superior
Court, Arizona, for the hate crime of shooting dead Balbir
Singh Sodhi, a Sikh American. Mr. Sodhi had been standing
in front of his gasoline station in Mesa, just days after
the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York, when
Roque drove by in a pickup and fired at him. He was the first
murder victim of the 9/11-related hate crime backlash in America.
Roque's conviction and maximum sentencing goes straight to
the heart of U.S. justice: hate crimes will not be tolerated.
is a hate crime? In the case of federal law, it is
a crime that involves the use or threat of force against someone
(or their property) because of that person's race, religion,
and ethnicity/national origin.
responsibilities. Director Mueller may have said
it best, "The FBI is the one federal law enforcement
entity that enforces the civil rights laws, no matter where
or how violations take place. It is a critical component of
the FBI -- always has been and always will be."
we investigate reported hate crimes that violate federal
laws and assist our state and local partners with their
cases, as needed. FBI cases are focused on preventing and
reacting to acts of domestic terrorism...and on investigating
acts of pure hate violence that violate the civil rights
of Americans. This last, for example, includes the investigation
of 507 hate crimes against Arab-, Muslim-, and Sikh Americans
since the 9/11 attacks. Eighteen subjects in these cases
were charged federally; 164 were charged with related state
and local crimes.
we keep track. Next month we will publish our 2002 edition
of annual Hate Crime Statistics. Our first edition, published
in 1992 with 1991 stats, began when Congress passed the
Hate Crime Statistics Act of 1990. It included statistics
from 11 states that had already been collecting hate crime-related
information. Today, some 17,000 law enforcement agencies
report data to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report program.
tuned. Hate Crime Statistics 2002 will be released
and posted on this site on Monday, November 17.
is it so important? Only by collecting and reporting the
data surrounding bias-motivated offenses can tools be developed
to combat these pernicious crimes.