June 15, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz has launched a new bureau dedicated to combating hate crimes.
The announcement comes amid a national discussion on systemic racism following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, as well as a recent uptick in biased attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.
The new Hate Crimes Bureau is the first in the nation committed exclusively to preventing, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes, Katz said.
The goal of the new bureau is to educate people in order to combat racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other hate-inspired bias crimes, according to Katz’ office.
“We are the ‘World’s Borough’ with the most diverse population of any county in the nation,” Katz said in a statement. “Hate-mongers and those who hurt others based on their own prejudices have no place in Queens.”
The specialized bureau will work closely with the District Attorney’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force.
“This Bureau takes a multifaceted approach to stopping hate crimes by working collaboratively with others to combat bias, as well as developing meaningful programs to bring about positive change,” Katz said.
Katz has appointed Assistant District Attorney Michael E. Brovner as the Chief of the Hate Crimes Bureau. Brovner, a 23-year veteran of the DA Office, previously served as Deputy Bureau Chief in the former Gang Violence and Hate Crimes Bureau.
Brovner has prosecuted hate crimes for more than 20 years and has lectured and trained others on hate crimes prosecution throughout New York State.