Michigan Department of Attorney General opening Hate Crimes Unit

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The Michigan Attorney General is openning a Hate Crimes Unit under the department.

In a press release sent Friday afternoon, Attorney General Dana Nessel said that while hate isn't a crime, when crime is perpetuated by prejudice against a specific group or individual, her office will act.

"...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," Nessel said. "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."

The number of hate crimes that have occurred in Michigan have been on the rise lately. In 2015, 309 hate crimes were reported by police across the state. In 2016, it climbed to 399 and then to 456 in 2017.

Detroit alone counted 41 in 2017, the largest of any city in Michigan.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) tracked 31 Hate Groups in Michigan in 2018. 

Spearheading the effort in the new division is Assistant Attorney General Sunita Doddamani, who is tasked as lead prosecutor in the unit. Special agent David Dwure has been named lead investigator. 

The office asks if you are a victim, or are aware of an instance, to contact the department at 313-456-0180.