California Attorney General launches Racial Justice Bureau to tackle hate crimes

Rob Bonta.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Tuesday launched the Racial Justice Bureau to tackle the growing number of hate crimes across the state. 

He also announced plans for a virtual session against hate crime with California’s big city mayors at the end of the month to raise awareness around regional concerns involving hate crimes and support those who have been impacted by hate.  Members of the coalition include Los Angeles, San Diego, San José, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, Oakland, Bakersfield, Anaheim, Riverside, Santa Ana, and Stockton.

Both announcements, his office said, are part of California's newest efforts to address bias and hate at their roots and to strengthen responses to hate crimes. 

"Throughout California’s history, too many of us have felt the sting of hate and discrimination," Bonta said in a statement. "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…. All of our communities deserve to be seen, to be valued, and to be protected."

The Racial Justice Bureau will initially bring six new attorneys and a supervising deputy attorney general to the DOJ's Civil Rights Enforcement Section. 

Specifically, these attorneys will assist with new and ongoing efforts on:

  • Hate crimes and organizations: Taking on the effects of white supremacy and hate organizations.
  • Implicit and explicit bias in policing: Launching and supporting investigations as appropriate and recognizing the urgent need to strengthen trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve. 
  • Law enforcement best practices: Issuing guidance to local law enforcement, prosecutors, and other public entities regarding shared challenges in providing for public safety. 
  • Campus climate issues: Including conducting and supporting investigations into overly punitive, discriminatory policies where they arise and working to find innovative ways to strengthen diverse, equitable, and inclusive school environments. 
  • Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans: Assisting with the implementation of the new task force to study reparation proposals for African Americans. 

 For those who are interested, the Racial Justice Bureau is now hiring and seeking qualified candidates.