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New California attorney general pledges focus on hate crimes

The new Racial Justice Bureau within his California Department of Justice will focus on hate crimes.

OAKLAND, Calif. — California’s new attorney general is promising an increased focus on hate crimes. 

Rob Bonta says there is “a state of crisis” because of increases in attacks on Asian Americans since the coronavirus entered the U.S. after originating in China. On Tuesday, he announced a new Racial Justice Bureau within his California Department of Justice. He says he will hold a virtual meeting with the mayors of the state’s 13 largest cities later this month to discuss hate crime.  

“Throughout California’s history, too many of us have felt the sting of hate and discrimination,” Attorney General Bonta said in a press release. “The fact is: No part of California is immune to hate. Too many Asian, Latino, Black, Native American, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh Californians all across the state are hurting. It’s going to take all of us working together to take on bias and hate and their toxic effects on our society."

He says about half of hate crimes go unreported. They are difficult to prosecute because there must be something to show they are driven by racial or other discrimination.

“The Mayors of California’s 13 largest cities look forward to working with Attorney General Bonta to combat hate crimes and discrimination in every form,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Chair of the Big City Mayors, said in a press release. “It will take all of us standing up for our wonderfully diverse community members to make California a welcome home for all.”

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