What You Need to Know About Michigan’s Newly Formed Hate Crimes Unit

Michigan is known for many things, like lighthouses and the gorgeous great lakes, but our new Governor would like us to also be known for fighting intolerance.

Michigan has a new Governor, and a new Attorney General. And with new faces in positions of power, comes changes in how we track and prosecute crimes here in the Great Lakes state. Just last month, the state Department of Civil Rights Director, Agustin Arbulu, announced that his department plans to start tracking all incidents motivated by hate and bias, that don’t rise to the level of a crime or civil infraction.

More recently, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel launched a new hate crimes unit within the Attorney General’s Office, with the goal to prosecute crimes specifically motivated by hatred and bias. Both of these efforts hope to get a handle on what civil rights activists in Michigan are saying is an alarming rise in hate crimes, both locally and on a national level.

The unit will address Michigan’s rising hate crime numbers

Attorney General Nessel appointed Assistant Attorney General Sunita Doddamani as the lead prosecutor of the new hate crimes unit. Doddamani was a criminal prosecutor in both Macomb and Wayne counties, and has experience prosecuting hate crimes. She will be working hand in hand with Michigan State Police Special Agent David Dwyre, who will now serve as the unit’s lead investigator.

“Hate itself is not a crime and our civil liberties protect the right to speak about even the most terrible of things.” Nessel says. “But when a criminal offense is committed against a person or property, and it is motivated by an offender’s bias against a particular group, then my office will act. To do that we intend to work with both federal and local authorities to ensure these crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible under the law.”

Hate crimes are on the rise here in Michigan

FBI statistics show that for the second year in a row, Michigan has seen a significant rise in hate crimes, and criminal activity motivated by bias. Two days after the second attack on a mosque in New Zealand, Attorney General Nessel spoke at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn. “We have created a hate crimes unit … with the express purpose of protecting each and every person in this state against those who wish to terrorize the people who live here.” she said.

AG Nessel went on to explain that her office, and specifically the newly formed hate crimes unit, “… will work relentlessly and tirelessly in cooperation with federal and local authorities” to solve all hate crimes here in Michigan. “We will conquer hate by working together.” she said.

What happens if you’re accused of a hate crime in Michigan?

Being accused of a hate crime is very serious. With public opinion currently being set against people acting on their personal beliefs, this is not a time that looks kindly on those who harm others because of personal beliefs.

If you’ve been accused of committing a hate crime in Michigan, whether you live in Lansing, Ionia, Jackson, Grand Rapids, or Howell, you’re going to need help from seasoned criminal defense attorneys with years of experience under their belts.Call 866 766 5245 (866 7No Jail) today to hire a top criminal defense attorney with decades of experience fighting for our clients.

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