Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

March 19, 2021

Public Safety Committee Sends Legislation Creating State Police Hate Crime, Extremist Investigative Unit to Senate Floor

This week, the Public Safety and Security Committee advanced legislation that would establish an investigative unit in the Connecticut State Police to investigate hate crimes and criminal acts committed by extremist groups to the Senate floor. This legislation, moved forward by a 22-3 vote, is co-sponsored by State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), who was enthusiastic about the Committee’s decision to move it forward.

“I wish it weren’t so, but we have seen a rising trend of hate crimes across our country, and the FBI continues to warn of extremists capable of committing violence,” said Sen. Anwar. “We have seen the tragic consequences of leaving this trend unchecked in brutal events that have occurred across the country. As a result, we need to make sure the victims of these crimes can receive restitution – and just as importantly, we must do all we can to prevent and protect against future crimes. I’m encouraged to see the Public Safety Committee strongly favor this legislation and I look forward to fighting for it on the Senate floor. Our community is only as strong as our unity, and we must stand up against hate when it threatens to divide us.”

Senate Bill 122, “An Act Establishing A Unit Within The Division Of State Police To Investigate Hate Crimes And Criminal Acts Committed By Extremist Groups,” would establish a Hate Crimes and Extremist Group Investigative Unit within Connecticut State Police. That unit would prevent, investigate, detect and assist law enforcement concerning any alleged crime violating hate crime statutes or motivated by bigotry or bias, as well as investigate actions by any individual or group encouraging, condoning, justifying or supporting commission of violent crime to achieve political, ideological, religious, social or economic goals.

The unit would further compile, maintain and analyze data regarding these crimes and publish an annual report providing information about them. Law enforcement units would also submit reports to the Hate Crimes and Extremist Group Investigative Unit no more than 14 days after reports of hate crimes or extremist acts, and beginning in 2022, state police will develop a standardized form allowing such reports to be easily made.

According to FBI statistics, Connecticut saw 76 hate crimes reported in 2019, the most recent year in which data has been compiled. Of those hate crimes, 48 were directed against an individual’s race, ethnicity or ancestry, 16 involved an individual’s religion, 11 involved sexual orientation and one involved gender. A recent report from the Anti-Defamation League tracked 193 incidents of hate, extremism and anti-Semitism in Connecticut in 2019 and 2020, additionally noting the year saw the highest level of white supremacist propaganda circulated in the United States in decades.