Anti-hate forum in Rutland focuses on social justice from law enforcement perspectives

RUTLAND — Members of the public as well as top voices in social justice matters met last Thursday evening to discuss where Vermont stands on social justice issues heading into the primary elections.

The NAACP for Vermont as well as the United States Attorney’s Office and the Vermont Attorney General’s Office helped organize the event, which took place in person and over the internet.

During the meeting, law enforcement experts shared how they deal with events that may have been motivated by hate.

PEGTV

Attendees of the Hate-free Vermont Forum discuss issues of race and law enforcement.

“We have a criminal division that can prosecute hate crimes,” said Julio Thompson, assistant attorney general and director of the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Unit. “… We also have the ability to go to Civil Court even if there’s not an arrest to get a court order to keep the perpetrator away from the victims, and also assist the victims in receiving justice.”

Thompson said that based on public forums going back to 2019, more community involvement is needed.

“It was very clear to us in our office that when we interacted with people who needed help, we needed greater support and involvement with our victims’ advocate in our office who is trained to deal with victims,” Thompson said. “… Our investigators are essentially civil detectives.”

He explained how the Vermont Legislature has made it easier for hate crime charges to be included in incidents.

“In 2021 the legislature passed, and the governor signed, a change to the law that expressly recognized that a hate crime can happen if there is more than one reason for the conflict,” Thompson said. “You have motives that are mixed: someone’s race might not be the sole reason for an act of violence or even the predominant reason. The idea was to make it easier for our office and our county partners in the state’s attorneys offices to take cases and provide more justice.”

Xusana Davis, Vermont’s executive director of racial equity, answered questions about what state resources are available to deal with race-related matters from her office.

“A lot of it is that we have the tools that we need, and we just have to use it for aggressive good,” she said.

Davis added that an “equity curriculum” and workplace initiatives are among many ideas being looked into.

“The original equity task Force came up with 70 recommendations on three main topics: One is systems of support that exist for people of color in Vermont, two is hate crimes and prosecution, and three is getting more representation of people of color in state service,” she said.

Some ideas, such as extending the statute of limitations for reporting harassment, were proposed but never became law, Davis said.

Brian Jacob, an FBI agent based in Albany, New York, told True North it’s important to distinguish between real hate crimes versus potential staged events, such as actor Jessie Smollet case in Chicago.

“The struggle we have is we’re bound by the law and we have to investigate these incidents and match them up with what the law applies,” he said. “And when that happens between the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, they decide if it meets the criteria to be charged as a crime — that’s the hardest part.”

Jacob said that all crimes should be reported whether it’s believed that they can be solved or not.

“We can see patterns in crimes, we can start to focus on certain areas and look at those areas for people who are perpetrating those crimes,” he said. “It does help to report even if it goes unsolved.

Jacob also was asked what concerns from the public resonated with him the most.

“I think what we heard the most is that what these communities are going through, we as law enforcement and the FBI, we don’t see every day,” he said. “We don’t hear these stories every day, and we need to be attentive to that level of the community as well. And I often think we are disconnected from that level of the public.”

Numerous attendees of the event shared personal stories about race-related incidents and struggles over recent years in Vermont. The general message was that Vermont does see race-related incidents on occasion and that they should be dealt with seriously by state leaders in law enforcement.

Watch the Hate-free Vermont forum on YouTube here.

Michael Bielawski is a reporter for True North. Send him news tips at bielawski82@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @TrueNorthMikeB.

Image courtesy of PEGTV
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11 thoughts on “Anti-hate forum in Rutland focuses on social justice from law enforcement perspectives

  1. Ask Xusana Davis and any one of her supporters and comrads to comment on the human trafficking going on at our US/Mexican border. Ask her or her supporters about the kidnapped children in Haiti perpetrated by Hillary Clinton’s associate. Ask her or her supporters about Oprah Winfrey’s associate John of God. Ask them about Jeffrey Epstein, Hunter Biden or any of the millions of cases of trafficked women and children. They won’t answer because they are being funded with the blood money from these cases. They turn a blind eye to “no justice” for the real victims of modern slavery and trafficking. If they put as much energy into protesting and discussing these issues, maybe this carnage and destruction of human lives across the globe could end.

  2. Vermont is full of hate. I was hated because I voted for Trump. People I knew for 30 years turned their heads & refused to acknowledge me. Yet I had them to my house often when a gathering. I was immediately “blackballed”. The hate I felt by many others was palpable because I was well off. I made more money than they did. Benie Sanders shouts his hate message all the time via ‘Class Envy” and “Class Warfare” . Socialist-Progressive hate is everywhere in VT…Hate the “rich”. …”Make Them Pay”…..’The rich don’t pay their share” (even though 65% of all VT income and property taxes comes from about 20% of the supposed rich people). If you are a white male,hetero… it’s pretty much automatic hate. If I buy non-organic food, I am seen as evil, dumb – or both. I bought BST milk too. I had a pickup truck AND an SUV – I was PURE EVIL….my list goes on and on, how VT is full of indoctrinated class, gender, wealth, race, envy…hate. But I am not them at all….I’m tolerant and open minded. I got tired of the hate – and I was one of the ones who was paying their ways in massive taxation. No one ever thanked me for what I paid all those years. But they do hate you because they aren’t.

    • Jeffrey, all the hate, if and when you can get one of these liberals to shut their
      pie hole and let you talk, but they won’t as they don’t even believe their own BS,
      but they know how to do is rant and rave as they have seen Vermont’s very own
      barking buffoon ” Socialist Sanders “…………………….. now we understand !!

    • This is what happens when the state follows the teachings of Saul Alinsky, Marxism, vs the teachings of Jesus Christ.

      We are a cancel culture, just like the romans.

      Even within the democrats there is huge fighting, huge canceling. They show no favors, I know people who stopped voting D and lost many friends. It is truly a cult, even the VTGOP plays into it.

      They are sowing hatred between fellow country man; people are easy to control when they hate.

      Happens the same in families, everyone got along until…..everyone can get along as long as you don’t talk about ….

      The smart phone is a huge part of this along with the internet, we’re being played by media of all types.

      Peace….

  3. If you need a support group, start one…..if your accosted, assaulted, otherwise harmed, report it. if your child is bullied..get in there and make a wave.
    I have lived many many trying times as a woman in the 70’s (oh yes sexual harassment was rampant back then; and you were laughed at if you complained)
    I do not have a racial bias bone in my body……i dont care what color a person is; you, he, she, it …is a person thats what counts (I like animals too by the way!!)
    Get over and move on……try valuing your fellow humans, and those who are negative, nasty or otherwise idiots……just stay away from them…end of story

  4. “Hate Crimes”, bigotry, etc., encompass more than racial prejudice. For that matter, how is it to be determined whether an incident is a “Hate Crime” or not? What about investigating crime and prosecuting based on law, where various factors may be taken into account, rather than acting as “thought police?

  5. Good Grief..here we go again. Look at another squirrel and not the crashing economy that is the worse we’ve seen in our lives.

    To hate is human nature, we are all sinners and we are all supposed to forgive.
    We are not ever going to rid ourselves of hate or the weather changing.

    What we can do is stop monetizing “Hate” by making a profitable business out it and a Democrat Jobs Program and instead change our attitudes about the entire topic.

    What one person views as hate is another persons viewpoint.
    I would think that the state that says “Keep Vermont Weird” would be the first people that got all of this. Your “Hate” may be someone else’s Weirdness..

    How about developing some coping skills?
    How about just turn and walk away and move on? (like we all did before we went off the rails)
    How about get a life and focus on the positive around you instead of digging for trouble and then Tweeting your feelings to the world for upvotes, clicks, likes and attention from George Soros and his crews?
    How about not doing things that make people hate you and then wondering why it happened?
    How about assimilating into the culture that YOU Moved into?
    There is a whole lot more effective things than this “Hate Forum” .. which makes people even more mad than they already are because we can see exactly what this is all about.

    The world is filled with more evil now that it ever has been in my lifetime- and this is despite the “Extreme Wokism” that largely has caused more hate !! –in addition to bankrupting us even further.

    Can everyone see this agenda here? Maybe you should write out a giant check to your local politician so he can solve all the hate.. maybe more windmills will help.

    This is all so old..

    • Yes Laura they’ve become the biggest group of whiners right behind the
      liberals running their plantation… It’s too bad as a lot of blacks have made
      great strides in their chosen professions and are greatly respected but the
      whiners get the lime light..

    • When asked by Mike Wallace “How are we going to get rid of racism”, Morgan Freeman said “Stop talking about it. I’m going to stop calling you a white man, and I’m going to ask you to stop calling me a black man.”

      • Yirgach, exactly!
        That was a great comment by Morgan Freeman..

        People have got to stop falling for all these distractions that are nothing but tools to keep us divided.. they are playing us like a song!
        THIS is what being “A Useful Idiot” means!
        It means you’ve fallen for the program and now you are allowing them to use you as a tool to divide.. don’t do this !!
        They don’t want us all united, and then ALL Working Together As One People– against them!
        They don’t want this because they know that there are more of us than there are of them..
        Recall that our map of this country is a giant sea of Red except for the Blue Liberal run cities.. don’t let that image leave your mind.

        People need to open their eyes and see this agenda.. this goal to keep the people divided, fighting among ourselves– to the degree that our families are even destroyed.

        We are so much better and smarter than this.. we’ve got to wake up and take back the power that we all actually do have.

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