Initiative to Enhance Awareness, Investigation,
and Prosecution of Hate Crimes
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, on Thursday, September 27, 2018, announced the launch of the District Attorney’s Hate Crimes Awareness Initiative. The announcement came at a press conference at the Orange County Emergency Services Center in Goshen, where District Attorney Hoovler was joined by Rabbi Rachel Rubenstein, Director of Education for the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County; Brian Monahan, Superintendent of the Minisink Valley Central School District; Tim Mains, Superintendent of the Pine Bush Central School District; and John Douthit, Principal of John S. Burke Catholic High School.
The initiative is designed to raise awareness about the prevalence of hate crimes in our communities and to enhance the investigation and prosecution of hate crimes. The initiative is, in part, the result of investigations into several hate crimes that have been committed in Orange County in recent years.
As part of the initiative:
• The District Attorney’s Office, with funding from the Jewish Federation, has developed an informational brochure, Speak Up to Stand Up Against Hate, and a related poster, both of which are available for public distribution.
• In November, the District Attorney’s Office will be conducting a training seminar for law enforcement officers and school officials, to provide them with information about how to recognize and investigate hate crimes, so that the perpetrators of those crimes may be successfully prosecuted.
• The District Attorney’s Office has established a Hate Crimes Hotline, (800) 378-1411, that people can use to report hate crime incidents.
• District Attorney Hoovler has assigned a senior prosecutor to coordinate efforts to investigate and prosecute hate crimes.
“We are all lucky enough to live in a free country,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “where the First Amendment protects our right to free expression, and even to say things that others would consider offensive. But, however, there are limits on the right to speak, and often there are those who abuse that right to free speech and whose words cross the line into criminal conduct, speech that directly injures others or that might lead to violence. That type of speech is intolerable. The initiative that we announce today is designed to raise awareness about hate crimes, those that are committed by unlawful speech or by unlawful physical acts. I am thankful for the cooperation of our friends in the Jewish Federation and of our schools, and I hope that together we can make Orange County a more tolerant place for all of us to live.”
For further information about the Hate Crimes Awareness Initiative, or for copies of the initiative’s informational brochure or poster, please contact Counsel to the District Attorney Robert Conflitti by email to DACommunityAffairs@orangecountygov.com or by phone at (845) 291-2050.