Residents of Warwick woke up Tuesday morning to rat poison in their yards and driveways with an antisemitism note and reference to Kayne West. Rhode Island has seen a rise in antisemitism with police only charging the crime as misdemeanors instead of a hate crime. The Rhode Island Coalition for Israel has been very outspoken at the lackluster response by local police when it comes to crimes of this nature. In Providence an individual was not charge with a hate crime because she is a minority. Governor McKee and other elected officials have been silent on this matter.
RI Coalition for Israel calls for hate crime charge in Brown U Hillel anti-Semitic incident
RI Coalition for Israel, the state-wide pro-Israel advocacy organization of Christians and Jews, today called for a hate crime to be charged against the individual who was arrested last week for leaving an antisemitic note at Brown U. Hillel.
The note, stated, “I would never give the rich stuck up entitled Jews any money. F—k you all. Hail Hitler. Gas the f—king Jews and hope you die.” According to the report, the perpetrator is not facing hate crime charges.
It is outrageous that this incident is not being charged as a hate crime. What occurred was hateful anti-Semitic speech accompanied by disorderly conduct targeting Jewish students and staff at Brown/RISD Hillel
The perpetrator is being charged with a disorderly conduct misdemeanor, defined by RI law as follows: “A person commits disorderly conduct if he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly…Directs at another person in a public place offensive words which are likely to provoke a violent reaction on the part of the average person so addressed”. Further, “Any person found guilty of the crime of disorderly conduct shall be imprisoned for a term of not more than six (6) months, or fined not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both.”
This criminal action clearly falls under RI’s definition of a hate crime: “A hate crime is any criminal act in which the perpetrator intentionally selects a victim or property because of the perpetrator’s hatred or animus towards a person’s protected status (actual or perceived race, religion, color, disability, national origin or ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation).” If the incident constitutes a hate crime, the perpetrator faces a sentencing enhancement.
The reason that this crime of Jew-hatred isn’t being charged as a hate crime is that law enforcement is inadequately trained to identify it. The Commission on Prejudice and Bias trains RI Law Enforcement to recognize bias. RICI leaders who have attended state-wide training found that it doesn’t include the tools needed to recognize the so-called “New Anti-Semitism”, as defined by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Anti-Semitism. The widely-adopted Definition was recognized by former Governor Gina Raimondo in her Holocaust Remembrance Day Proclamation of January 27, 2020.
RICI has proposed that the Commission boost the training curriculum to follow the guidelines of the IHRA Definition but the proposal was rejected out of hand earlier this year by the Civil & Community Rights Unit of the RI Attorney General’s office and the Commission on Prejudice and Bias.
RICI calls on the Providence Police and City Solicitor’s office to charge and prosecute the incident at Brown U. Hillel as a hate crime as called for in the statutes, with support as needed by Attorney-General’s office.