Condemning Failure to Prosecute Hate Crime

Police Accountability, Racial Justice

Condemning Failure to Prosecute Hate Crime in New Hampshire

Lawyers for Civil Rights strongly condemns the failure of the New Hampshire Attorney General to classify the near-lynching of a bi-racial 8 year old boy in 2017 as a hate incident.  This abdication of responsibility means that the Attorney General will neither prosecute the incident as a hate crime nor institute a civil rights action on behalf of the victim.

Remarkably, the Attorney General reached his conclusion despite finding credible evidence that the perpetrator pushed the boy off a picnic table while a rope was tied around the boy’s neck and that the perpetrator and his friends had used various racial slurs against the victim and his sister (referring to “white pride,” asking “are we getting too white for you?” and “calling the victim the N-word”).  However, apparently because those slurs were not used at the precise moment of the near-lynching, the Attorney General decided that the incident could not be deemed a hate crime.

The Attorney General’s decision is an affront to the 8-year old victim and his family, and to all victims of hate incidents.  It is willfully blind to the facts of this particular case and to the ways in which hate and bias continue to manifest themselves in today’s world.  At a time when hate crimes are spiking in New England and across the country, the failure to prosecute such crimes leaves victims vulnerable and emboldens perpetrators.

We hope that other law enforcement officers understand this reality better than New Hampshire’s Attorney General and will help deter hate crimes by prosecuting them to the fullest extent of the law when they occur.