Justice Department stepping up enforcement of hate crimes

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is stepping up its enforcement of hate crimes and other bias-related incidents, furthering a promise by Attorney General Merrick Garland to focus on civil rights violations. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, recently sworn in and the first Black woman to hold the position, said over the past six months the effort has led to indictments in multiple cases. But the number of hate crimes has grown. In November, the FBI said they’d reached the highest level in more than a decade. Clarke said that hate crimes are especially pernicious because they harm targeted individuals and the entire community to which the individual belongs.