Philly Law Enforcement Vows Comprehensive Crackdown on Hate Crime

Billy Penn  posted that Philadelphia’s top law enforcement officers promise they’re continuing to work to “vigorously” to prosecute hate crimes during “this time of collective unrest.”

In a joint statement released via the mayor’s office Monday morning, District Attorney R. Seth Williams, City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante and Police Commissioner Richard Ross said the District Attorney has “specially assigned a dedicated Assistant District Attorney in each of the six geographic zones that make up the DA’s office” to prosecute hate crimes.

The DA is promising his office will prosecute hate crimes to “the fullest extent of the law.” But, as noted in the statement, Pennsylvania doesn’t have a specific hate crime statute. Instead, alleged perpetrators would be charged with ethnic intimidation, a third-degree misdemeanor.

Here’s the full statement from the city officials:

“Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, and we are, thanks to our many differences, stronger together and benefit every day from our collective diversity.

“Today, we remind the men and women of Philadelphia that our offices will continue to prosecute any and all hate crimes to the fullest extent of the law. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office will continue to work seamlessly with the Philadelphia Police Department, the City of Philadelphia and the community; and the District Attorney has specially assigned a dedicated Assistant District Attorney in each of the six geographic zones that make up the DA’s office to vigorously prosecute any hate crime.

“Additionally, during this time of collective unrest, we also remind Philadelphians that violence or damage of property will not be tolerated. As the Mayor expressed recently, regardless of whether these actions are committed in the name of the President-elect or in opposition to him, they have no place in the City of Philadelphia.”

The city says all crimes should be reported to police by calling 911. They can also be reported to the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR) at 215-686-4670 or pchr@phila.gov.  The PCHR also has an anonymous hotline at 215-686-2856.