A new state report released by the Office of New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewel indicates a rise of “bias” incidents involving students and young adults throughout New Jersey. In 2018, over 560 bias incidents were reported in the state with almost half of the incidents involving minors. College campuses were the scene of almost 300 of these incidents. The most common racial group targeted for bias was African Americans. In response to the increase in hate motivated behavior, New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights announced a new Interagency Task Force to Combat Youth Bias aimed at directly addressing the problem.
New Jersey has expanded its definition of bias to include several new categories.
“Bias” incidents could be based on:
When the victim of a predicate crime has been targeted on the basis of one of these categories, a “bias” incident likely has occurred under New Jersey’s Bias Intimidation Statute in effect since 2008.
Not all bias incidents result from the actions of members of an organized hate group. Some of the most problematic bias incidents occur when a police officer engages in illegal excessive force or brutality directed toward an individual in part based on their race or ethnicity. The new standards specifically address situations in which a law enforcement officer is the alleged perpetuator of the bias. In those matters, the Division of Criminal Justice and appropriate County Prosecutor must be notified immediately given the severity of the charges.
One of the major goals of the new Task Force will be to develop enhanced law enforcement procedures including bias incident investigation standards. Under the new standards, law enforcement agencies will be encouraged to take a community centered approach to law enforcement training and communication, including mandatory courses on cultural diversity, de-escalation, and bias crime reporting. With a focus on victim support, the new standards aim to target groups exploiting hatred and intolerance to reduce the number of bias incidents.
One of the key components to eradicating bias is the fair treatment of all by law enforcement. When police engage in discriminatory behavior including police brutality of certain minority groups, bias is taking place. Victims of police brutality and bias can suffer significant emotional trauma in addition to physical injuries. By filing a civil lawsuit against biased police officers, survivors of police brutality can obtain compensation for the costs of medical treatment, psychiatric counseling, lost wages, and their pain and suffering. The first step in healing from a police brutality incident is to contact an experienced Philadelphia police brutality lawyer who can protect one’s civil rights while holding law enforcement responsible for their illegal actions.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of police brutality, you may be entitled to compensation. At Williams Cedar, our experienced Philadelphia police brutality lawyers work aggressively to protect the rights of individuals targeted because of their race, national origin, LGBTQ status, or other discriminatory basis. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, to serve police brutality victims and their families throughout South Jersey and in Pennsylvania. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Philadelphia police brutality lawyer today, call us at 215-557-0099 or 856-470-9777 or submit an online inquiry form.