BOSTON – Today, United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins announced the rollout of:
The “End Hate Now” hotline is dedicated for reporting hate-based incidents or potential criminal activity. Massachusetts residents and visitors are encouraged to call the hotline to report concerning or troubling incidents of hate, potential hate crimes, or concerns regarding individuals believed to be espousing the hate-filled views or actions we learn of far too often in the wake of mass shootings and/or acts of hate-based violent extremism. Callers are encouraged to leave their contact information but may remain anonymous. At this time, the hotline is available in English, Spanish, Cantonese and French.
Hate crimes are illegal acts committed based on a victim’s perceived or actual race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. Beliefs are not hate crimes. Distasteful ideologies, advocacy of political or social positions, use of discriminatory rhetoric, or the general philosophic embrace of biased or hate-filled beliefs are not crimes. Under federal law, investigations may not be based solely on an individual’s beliefs or their protected First Amendment activity.
“With the uptick in horrific mass-shootings and unimaginable acts of racially motivated violent extremism we have seen across our country, people are scared. In Massachusetts, we have recently seen multiple incidents of groups espousing deeply offensive and hurtful ideologies displayed on our streets. A recent act of hateful vandalism at the future PRYDE senior housing facility in Hyde Park threatened burning and death against the LGBTQ+ community. Enough is enough. My office is offering our residents and visitors a new outlet for bringing these critical and concerning issues seeped in bigotry and hatred to the attention of law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Rollins. “I am asking people – when you see hate, call this number and let us know. If you have serious concerns about a loved one, a friend, or even an acquaintance, call this number and let us know. We have dedicated resources to these important issues and stand ready to act when necessary. This too is a vitally important form of community policing.”
As part of this effort, U.S. Attorney Rollins also formally announced the leadership of her newly created Civil Rights and Human Trafficking Unit in her Criminal Division, which will focus on prosecuting cases involving civil rights violations, including hate crimes, human trafficking, and police use of excessive force. U.S. Attorney Rollins announced the establishment of this dedicated Unit at her Investiture in April 2022. It is now fully staffed and operational. The Unit will be led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Riley in the role of Unit Chief. Ms. Riley recently served as the Chief of Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted and supervised cases involving human trafficking and online exploitation of youth and adults. During her more than 10 years as an Assistant District Attorney for Suffolk County, Ms. Riley prosecuted over 300 cases and secured successful convictions in over 50 jury trials. In 2015, she was awarded as the Suffolk County Outstanding Prosecutor of the Year. She is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Suffolk University Law School. Ms. Riley will supervise a Unit of three federal prosecutors and exceptional support staff and will work closely with the Office’s existing five-member Civil Rights Unit in the Civil Division, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Serafyn.
“Protecting Massachusetts residents from violence and hate is the top priority of my administration,” stated U.S. Attorney Rollins. “In Massachusetts, we have a long history of standing up to hate and intolerance. Today, we continue that honored tradition. By establishing this 1-83-END-H8-NOW hotline and a Civil Rights and Human Trafficking Unit, my office is fully equipped and dedicated to fighting hate-fueled criminal activity across our Commonwealth.”