EBRSO explains why several years of hate crime data was withheld from FBI

EBRSO explains why several years of hate crime data was withheld from FBI

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A spokesperson for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office (EBRSO) says the agency did not report data about hate crimes investigated in the parish to the FBI for several years because the agency wasn’t required to do so.

The disclosure comes after WAFB reviewed data collected by ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project which shows the agency did not provide data between 2010 and 2015, with the exception of 2013. In 2013, EBRSO reported to Propublica that detectives investigated zero hate crimes. The spokesperson told WAFB Thursday, Nov. 7 investigators looked into at least one incident in 2013. The discrepancy was clarified to likely be due to a “clerical mistake.”

The FBI is required under the Hate Crime Statistics Act to collect data about hate crimes and relies on self-reporting from law enforcement agencies to create a picture of how communities across the nation are impacted by bias-related incidents and crime.

EBRSO provided WAFB with summaries of incidents investigated as hate crimes during those years. That information can be viewed below:

  • 2010 – A mailbox was damaged with graffiti.
  • 2011 – A victim was allegedly held at gunpoint during a robbery where racial remarks were made.
  • 2011 – Property was damaged with graffiti.
  • 2013 – A racist remark was put on sign belonging to a business
  • 2014 – Property was damaged with graffiti.
  • 2015 – A vehicle was damaged and verbal racist remarks were made.

Previous reporting done by Propublica found multiple law enforcement agencies across the country reported they hadn’t investigated any hate incidents, had no records on file, or that their records were poorly kept. In some cases, members of law enforcement weren’t sure how to mark hate crimes within their record systems. Read more by clicking the link here.

A spokesperson for EBRSO said the agency does keep track of any incident reported as a hate crime, but very few incidents meet the standards set out by Louisiana law. A copy of that law can be reviewed by clicking the link here.

WAFB requested a copy of a passage from any handbooks or training guides that show how deputies are trained to record hate crimes. That request was not fulfilled, however, the EBRSO spokesperson did note incidents are “recorded, documented and handled like other crimes” based on the law.

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