Garland: Confronting hate crimes is DOJ's 'legal and ... moral obligation'

Attorney General Merrick Garland, speaking in Buffalo, N.Y., after meeting with the families of the victims of the Buffalo mass shooting, affirmed the Justice Department’s commitment to combat hate crimes. He made the remarks after the DOJ announced that federal hate crime charges had been filed against the alleged shooter in the May 14 supermarket massacre in which 10 people were killed, all of whom were Black, and another three wounded.

Video transcript

MERRICK GARLAND: Hate-fueled acts of violence terrorize not only the individuals who are attacked, but entire communities. Hate brings immediate devastation and it inflicts lasting fear. At the Justice Department, we view confronting hate crimes as both our legal and our moral obligation.

The Justice Department was founded more than 150 years ago with the first principle task of protecting Black Americans and our democracy from white supremacist violence. Today, we approach that task with the same degree of urgency as we did then. We fully recognize the threat that hatred and violent extremism pose to the safety of the American people and American democracy.

We will be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes, to support the communities terrorized by them, and to hold accountable those who perpetrate them. No one in this country should have to live in fear that they will go to work or shop at a grocery store and will be attacked by someone who hates them because of the color of their skin, someone who commits that act because he subscribes to the vile theory that only people like him belong in this country. And no one in this country should have to bury a loved one because of such hate.

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