Team Maryland Calls on U.S. Attorney, FBI to Investigate Hate Crimes in Maryland, Following Local and National Anti-Semitic Threats and Incidents

March 1, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 1, 2017) – Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings joined Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, and Congressmen Steny H. Hoyer, Anthony Brown, John K. Delaney, Andy Harris, Jamie Raskin, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John P. Sarbanes (all D-MD) sent a letter to Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, and his counterpart at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Gordon B. Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, Baltimore, urging them to use “the full resources of the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute hate crimes and violence in the state of Maryland.” As recent as Monday, another wave of threats to Jewish day schools and institutions occurred across the country, including Jewish day schools in Rockville and Annapolis, and a Jewish Community Center in Owings Mills. 

The delegation wrote, “In Maryland, bomb threats have disrupted classroom activities as well as events at Jewish community centers, coupled with the rise of neo-Nazi propaganda. These hate-filled threats are intended to strike fear across the country and represent a troubling trend that we must bring to an end. … Each threat needs to be treated with the utmost seriousness as we band together to discourage such vicious language and activity.”

The full letter is below and can be found at this link.

March 1, 2017

Mr. Rod J. Rosenstein
U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland
U.S. Department of Justice
36th S. Charles Street, 4th floor
Baltimore, MD 21201

Mr. Gordon B. Johnson
Special Agent in Charge, Baltimore
Federal Bureau of Investigation
2600 Baltimore Drive
Baltimore, MD 21244

Dear U.S. Attorney Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Johnson:

We write to express our grave concern about the recent rise in the number of anti-Semitic and religious discrimination incidents in the state of Maryland and the need for a strong federal response.

In Maryland, bomb threats have disrupted classroom activities as well as events at Jewish community centers, coupled with the rise of neo-Nazi propaganda. These hate-filled threats are intended to strike fear across the country and represent a troubling trend that we must bring to an end. Leaders from the national level to the neighborhood level must speak out forcefully against this kind of intolerance. This is not only a concern of Jewish communities. Religious-based threats, vandalism and threats of violence, whether anti-Semitic or targeted at Muslim-Americans or other religions, are not only criminal but fan the flames of extremism that tears apart societies. Each threat needs to be treated with the utmost seriousness as we band together to discourage such vicious language and activity.

We ask you to use the full resources of the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute hate crimes and violence in the state of Maryland when jurisdiction exists to protect federal civil rights, including the resources available from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Civil Rights Division, and Community Relations Service.  We urge you to work closely with state and local law enforcement authorities to ensure close cooperation on investigation and prosecution of hate crimes and to improve training and reporting of such crimes to the federal government.  We pledge our full cooperation in these efforts.

Thank you for your consideration.  We look forward to your timely response and working closely with your offices to protect the civil rights and civil liberties of all Marylanders.
Sincerely,


Cc: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, DOJ
Jim Comey, FBI Director
Brian Frosh, Maryland Attorney General