Texas Democrat Introduces Bill 'To Prevent and Prosecute White-Supremacy-Inspired Hate Crime'

Susan Jones | January 17, 2023 | 9:40am EST
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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - U.S. law defines hate crimes as offenses involving "actual or perceived" race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

Now a Texas Democrat says "white supremacy inspired hate crime" should be added to the list.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) has introduced the "Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023," a bill referred to the Republican-led House Judiciary Committee, which means it will not advance in the 118th Congress.

The bill's purpose, according to the text, is "to prevent and prosecute white supremacy inspired hate crime and to amend Title 18, United States Code, to expand the scope of hate crimes."

The bill defines white supremacy-inspired crime as one where "white supremacy ideology has motivated the planning, development, preparation, or perpetration of actions that constituted a crime or...would have constituted a crime."

One section of the bill would amend hate crimes law by adding the following paragraph:

"Mass shootings and other hate crimes motivated by white supremacy have been increasing in frequency and intensity. These heinous and virulent crimes are inspired by conspiracy theories, blatant bigotry, and mythical falsehoods such as "replacement theory." All instances must be prevented and severe criminal penalties must be applied to their perpetrators."

On December 12, 2022, the FBI released hate crime statistics for 2021.

The 2021 data, submitted by 11,834 law enforcement agencies, detailed 7,262 criminal incidents and 8,673 related offenses as being motivated by bias toward race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, and gender identity," the FBI said.

According to the FBI report, "Slightly more than 7,000 (7,074) single-bias incidents involved 8,753 victims" in 2021, based on incomplete reporting. Of those:

-- 64.8% of victims were targeted because of the offenders’ race/ethnicity/ancestry bias;

-- 15.6% were targeted because of the offenders’ sexual-orientation bias;

-- 13.3% were targeted because of the offenders’ religious bias;

--  3.6% were targeted because of the offenders’ gender identity bias;

--  1.7% were targeted because of the offenders’ disability bias;

--  1.0% were targeted because of the offenders’ gender bias.

Of the 5,781 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons in 2021, "44.2% were intimidation, 35.9% were simple assault, and 18.3% were aggravated assault. Thirteen (13) rapes and 9 murders were reported as hate crimes. The remaining 69 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons were reported in the category of "other."

Of the 2,606 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against property, most (64.2%) were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism.

Of the 6,312 known offenders, 56.1% were White, 21.3% were Black or African American, 1.3% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.0% were Asian, 0.4% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 6.3% were multiple races. The race was unknown for 13.5%.

The FBI states that its data collection is incomplete, partly as a result of shifting to a different method of data collection. "Several of the nation’s largest law enforcement agencies, as well as some states, did not make the transition to NIBRS (National Incident-Based Reporting System) in time to submit data prior to the reporting deadline, and are not included in the 2021 reported totals," the report said.

However, the FBI says participation in NIBRS continues to improve:

"As of November 1, 2022, 12,090 of the nation’s 18,806 law enforcement agencies have reported crime data using NIBRS. As more agencies transition to the NIBRS data collection with continued support from the Justice Department, hate crime statistics in coming years will provide a richer and more complete picture of hate crimes nationwide."

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