(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—Today, Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) requesting documents and information on the FBI’s plan to improve its process for collecting and reporting hate crimes statistics.
According to a November 2019 report from the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), there are serious flaws with the FBI’s hate crime statistics reporting.
“USCCR’s findings are consistent with evidence presented at the Subcommittee’s hearings on the rise of violent white supremacy,” Chairman Raskin wrote. “At these hearings, there was widespread consensus among Members and expert witnesses that the FBI’s Hate Crimes Statistics do not adequately capture incidents of hate in the United States.”
Former DOJ attorney Roy Austin testified that “we have never known” how many hate crimes occur in the United States, and that “the numbers kept by the FBI are largely useless.”
Several egregious examples of hate crimes have been omitted from the FBI’s data, including an attack on a gay high school student who required facial reconstructive surgery to recover, the murder of an Indian American man whose assailant yelled “get out of my country,” and the murder of Heather Heyer by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, VA.
Calvin Shivers, Deputy Assistant Director for Criminal Investigations at the FBI, testified that the FBI is in the process of transitioning away from the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which is allegedly a “more effective tool” than the UCR.
“However, given that the new system still relies on voluntary submission of data, the Subcommittee continues to have concerns that this will not do enough to solve the issues with the FBI’s hate crime reporting,” the Chairman wrote. “Congress and federal law enforcement need an accurate accounting of hate crimes in order to fully understand the scope of the problem and determine the proper solutions and allocation of resources.”
Click here to read today’s letter.