By: Reis Thebault
Shanlon Wu spoke with The Washington Post about his experience charging hate crimes as a federal prosecutor, and the misconception that hate crimes are harder to prove. Shan stated that proving hate crimes is no different from what happens “constantly, every day in courtrooms,” where prosecutors use circumstantial evidence to show a defendant’s intent.
Shan also discussed the effect not charging hate crimes has on minority communities, “For so many minority communities there is the concept of erasure—that their history here and the violence against them has been erased.” He added, “When you have a law on the books that you don’t use, it’s like erasing the law.”
Researchers, advocates and law enforcement officials have described a breakdown at nearly every step of the justice system leading to a disturbing conclusion: Hate crimes go unpunished.