Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

FBI releases anti-gay hate-crime data

(original link)

Hate crimes in the United States dropped last year by 6 percent, the FBI reported, though hate crimes based on sexual orientation accounted for 14.2 percent of reported incidents.

More than half of all hate crimes were triggered by victims' race, with religion coming in a distant second, the FBI reported Monday, but Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, noted that changes in federal law sought by gay activists would more accurately reflect the extent of anti-LGBT violence.

"Sexual orientation remains the third-highest recorded bias crime in our country, which underscores that anti-gay hate crimes are a very real problem nationwide," Solmonese said Tuesday in a written statement.

"We urge Congress to pass strong hate crimes legislation that protects all citizens -- including GLBT Americans -- so that the federal government can provide aid and support to local law enforcement dealing with these crimes nationwide."

The highest percentage of anti-gay attacks in the 16 years the FBI has tracked them was in 2002, when 16.7 percent of the nation's hate crimes targeted people based on their perceived orientation.

Victim-advocate groups, such as the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, contend that the number of attacks against gays is much higher.

The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, passed in September 2005 by the House but becalmed in the Senate, would update federal hate crimes statutes to include sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

"While providing valuable data, today's hate crimes report is incomplete," Solmonese said. "It is critical that all jurisdictions treat these crimes seriously and report hate crimes statistics to the FBI and the public.

"The numbers of anti-gay hate crimes also indicate the need for state and local governments to do more to prevent and investigate hate crimes. Bias-motivated crimes require a comprehensive response at every level of government," he said.

The vast majority of hate crimes in both 2004 and 2005 were motivated by race, according to the reports, which detailed the data based on so-called "single-bias" incidents. That means the crime was motivated by only one kind of bias against the victim, according to the FBI.

Victims were assaulted in more than half -- 50.7 percent -- of the hate crime cases against people. Six people were murdered and another three were raped in reported hate crimes last year. The rest of the victims -- 48.9 percent -- were intimidated, the report shows.

The FBI also looked at hate crime incidents that targeted property, with 81.3 percent of cases resulting in damage, destruction or vandalism. Sixty percent of the known offenders in 2005 were white, and 20 percent were black, the report showed.

The data was collected from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies across the United States.


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