FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                  CONTACT:     Kristy dosReis

April 1, 2021                                                                                          (401) 274-4400 x2234

                                                                                                                This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

                                                                                                              Twitter @AGNeronha


Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Liaison Officers appointed in every Rhode Island police department


The Office also issued new guidance this week to law enforcement regarding reporting hate crimes statistics and began its statewide training program for liaison officers


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced today that every police department in the state has now appointed a Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Liaison Officer as part of his initiative to prioritize civil rights work and protect Rhode Island’s diverse communities from crimes motivated by hate.


“Expanding our work in civil rights continues to be a top priority for this Office, and this team of dedicated liaison officers will be essential to that work” said Attorney General Neronha. “This week, we kicked off a statewide orientation program for the Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Liaison Officers to introduce how this approach will be structured. I commend our law enforcement partners for stepping up to the challenge to help ensure that the community and law enforcement are aligned in their work toward an effective response to bias incidents.”


Throughout this week, the Attorney General’s Office has hosted virtual orientation and training sessions to prepare Liaison Officers to respond more effectively to bias-motivated misconduct and properly report hate crimes. The online training will be followed by an in-person learning session this summer that will be conducted annually. The Attorney General’s Office is collaborating with community partners to ensure that the training offers diverse perspectives and best-practice policing strategies.


The Office also issued guidance to law enforcement on how to properly report hate crimes in Rhode Island. Under state law, all police departments must report crimes that appear after investigation to have been motivated by bigotry or bias to the Rhode Island State Police.


In December 2020, the Attorney General’s Office established a Civil Rights Team to bring a coordinated and focused approach to the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes and police misconduct. As part of guidance issued to law enforcement, the Attorney General recommended that each police department designate a Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Liaison Officer to serve as a direct contact to the Civil Rights Team. The Liaison Officer program will help streamline information sharing and facilitate training, providing law enforcement with another tool to better protect the diverse communities they serve.


“We commend Attorney General Neronha for prioritizing the civil rights of all Rhode Islanders and for his work to establish the very timely and necessary Civil Rights Team,” Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association Executive Director Sidney Wordell said. “Police officers throughout the state are committed to protecting and serving their communities without bias or prejudice, and the appointments of these new Hate Crimes and Civil Rights Liaison Officers will allow law enforcement officers to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. We look forward to further strengthening our partnership with Attorney General Neronha as we work toward our common goal of reducing hate crimes and discrimination in our state." 


The Civil Rights Team has filed hate crimes sentencing enhancements in multiple cases over the past year and the Office is backing a bill that would significantly enhance Rhode Island’s current hate crimes sentencing act. Last month, the Attorney General’s Office reached an agreement with Brown University’s Department of Public Safety to ensure that the university properly reports hate crimes, as required under state law.




 Follow us on social media!
A new report claims the Trump administration secretly acquired "Washington Post" journalists' phone records last year. The newspaper says the Justice Department also tried getting email records in connection with reporting during the early part of the Trump White House. The agency sent three letters notifying them of toll records associated with phone numbers between April and July of 2017.        Governor Asa Hutchinson is ending supplemental unemployment assistance for Arkansas residents. He said today he has directed the Division of Workforce Services to stop its participation in the federal assistance plan after June 26th. Hutchinson says while the extra 300 dollars a month helped thousands of residents make it though a tough time, now they're needed back in the workforce as the state continues opening up.       White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients [[ ZYE-entz ]] says the government is boosting efforts to convince hesitant Americans to get vaccinated, while also improving access to vaccinations. Meantime, White House COVID Advisor Andy Slavitt says one-hundred-ten million Americans are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.       An election bill is headed back to the Texas Senate after being passed by the Texas House. Representatives signed off on the measure this afternoon following hours of debate. Republicans argue the bill brings about more transparency in elections, particularly involving poll watchers.       A political consultant for the Texas Agriculture Commissioner is under arrest for allegedly selling access to the licenses needed to grow hemp in the state. Production was legalized back in 2019, but only 15 licenses would be issued. Todd Smith, who has run the commissioner's political campaigns, was allegedly telling farmers that getting a hemp license would take a total of 150-thousand dollars in contributions.       A professional golfer is facing a dozen charges, accused of sending inappropriate messages to someone he thought was a teenage girl. Daniel Bowling was arrested yesterday. Orlando Police say Bowling was using the messaging platform AdChat to talk with an undercover cop pretending to be a minor and police say it only took a day for the messages to become sexually charged.