hate crimes

Dawn at Bicentennial Park in downtown Columbus.
Ryan Hitchcock / WOSU

Kiwi Wongpeng was driving down Detroit Avenue in Lakewood last month when she noticed another driver who seemed to be yelling at her, so she rolled down her window to hear him.

American Jews are finding themselves in a historically familiar position: Scapegoated for a plague.

Updated 9:25 p.m. ET

A day after naming a new lead prosecutor in the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said he has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to look into the actions of two district attorneys and how they handled the case.

The investigation into the killing of Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was shot and killed while jogging in a Brunswick, Ga., neighborhood, had stalled in the 10 weeks following his death on Feb. 23.

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr on Monday tapped a new lead prosecutor in the murder case of Ahmaud Arbery — the fourth since the young black man was killed in February while jogging in Glynn County, Ga.

Joyette Holmes, district attorney of the Cobb County Judicial Circuit and the first black woman to serve in that position, is taking over the case following a video of the shooting that went viral after it was posted online last week. The footage ignited national outcry and a cascade of questions over why no arrests were made in the 10 weeks since Arbery's Feb. 23 killing.

With supporters calling it more than 100 years in the making, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Wednesday that makes lynching a federal hate crime for the first time in U.S. history.

The Emmett Till Antilynching Act was approved in a vote of 410-4. Three Republicans and one independent representative voted against it.

The streets of Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood are usually busy with Hasidic families coming and going. The men and boys wear distinctive hats and beards and side curls known as peyots. Esther and Yehuda Weiss have lived here all their lives. They've been shaken by recent anti-Semitic harassment and violence.

"We all get worried and scared," Yehuda says.

Esther sets out a bowl of sugared nuts and sits across from her husband. "It's getting very scary, and it's putting a lot of our stress on our daily lives."

Updated at 3:16 p.m. ET

Federal prosecutors in New York have filed hate crime charges against the man accused of carrying out a stabbing rampage north of New York City over the weekend that wounded five people as they celebrated Hanukkah.

The torch-wielding racists who marched on Charlottesville, Va., two years ago showed the ugly new face of the far right. Their deadly rally shocked the nation into paying attention to how racial hatred could turn into organized violence.

But if 2017 was the wake-up call, 2019 was the year the call was answered.

Facing a rash of anti-Semitic attacks, the New York City Police Department will increase its presence in Brooklyn neighborhoods that have large Jewish communities, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday.

At least six incidents of hate-fueled attacks have been reported over the past week. The violence is taking place against the backdrop of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, which began Sunday evening.

Updated Nov. 12, 5:25 p.m. ET

While the number of reported hate crimes dipped slightly in 2018, violence against individuals rose to a 16-year high, according to numbers released Tuesday by the FBI.

The FBI's annual tally counted 7,120 hate crimes reported last year, 55 fewer than the year before. The main concern for extremism trackers, however, is the rising level of violence — the report showed an increase in the number of "crimes against persons," such as intimidation, assault and homicide.

 James Reardon, Jr.
Mahoning County Sheriff's Office

A 20-year-old Ohio man has pleaded not guilty to threatening a Jewish community center in a video posted to Instagram.

Avowed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr. was given a second sentence of life in prison for killing a woman and injuring dozens when he rammed his car into a group of people protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

On Monday, Charlottesville Circuit Judge Richard Moore sentenced Fields to the life term plus 419 years and $480,000 in fines, in keeping with a jury's recommendation.

Updated at 6:32 p.m. ET

The man who drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., killing one person and injuring 35 has been sentenced to spending the rest of his life in prison.

A federal judge issued the sentence of life without the possibility of parole on Friday for self-proclaimed neo-Nazi James Fields Jr., 22, of the Toledo, Ohio, area.

Worshipers at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center in Columbus.
Noor Islamic Cultural Center / Facebook

Last month, a gunman killed 50 people and injured 50 others at a mosque and Islamic center in New Zealand. In response to that and other recent attacks, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is hosting a roundtable on how to protect houses of worship from domestic terrorism and hate crimes.

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