Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $400,000)
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) requests grant funding under FY22 BJA Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Program in order to enhance the capacity to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of hate crimes and bring closure to victims. New York City has experienced an alarming increase in the number of hate crimes since the pandemic began, and the number of incidents continues to climb. In CY2021, the NYPD recorded a 96% increase in the number hate crimes that required investigation. The increase has continued into 2022, with the NYPD recording 98% more hate crime incidents versus the same quarter in 2021.
In recognition of the sensitive and complex nature of these types of incidents, the NYPD has a dedicated investigative unit within its Detective Bureau, the Hate Crime Task Force (HCTF), that has citywide responsibility for the criminal investigation and apprehension of persons who have committed hate crimes in New York City. With federal funding, the NYPD will be able to hire an attorney that will be assigned to the HCTF full-time, with the task of enhancing the investigation of hate crimes and working with prosecuting agencies to enhance the prosecution of hate crimes.
The NYPD is seeking $399,840.39 for a project in order to fund the salary and fringe benefits of an attorney over the four-year grant period. The NYPD believes that hiring an attorney to assist HCTF investigators in the identification, analysis, and investigation of hate crimes will substantially improve the quality and efficiency of these investigations, which will lead to improved prosecutions. The attorney will assist investigators in presenting the strongest prosecutable cases to the district attorney offices and the federal prosecutors.
The attorney will be able to expediently address the nuances of the New York State Hate Crime statute and provide legal guidance on the determinants and elements required for probable cause and the appropriate offense(s) to be charged. The attorney will also be tasked with coordinating with the federal prosecuting agencies to identify cases that are eligible for federal prosecution. The attorney will also liaise with the NYPD Legal Bureau and Legislative Affairs Unit to examine the NYS Penal Law Article 485 Hate Crime Statute and quantify if additional crimes can be added, whether existing crimes can be reviewed, and whether sentencing guidelines can be amended.