Attorney General Nessel launches Hate Crimes Unit

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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -- Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel launched the Hate Crimes Unit within the Criminal Division of the Department of the Attorney General on Friday.

Assistant Attorney General Sunita Doddamani will be lead prosecutor and Special Agent David Dwyre is lead investigator in the unit, according to a press release.

“Hate itself is not a crime and our civil liberties protect the right to speak about even the most terrible of things. But when a criminal offense is committed against a person or property and it is motivated by an offender’s bias against a particular group, then my Office will act," Nessel said.

She wants state residents and law enforcement agencies to contact the new unit if they know about or have been a victim of a hate crime. She said the DAG will follow up on any credible tip, launching independent investigations and offer departmental resources to assist local and federal law enforcement partners for those cases where enough cause exists, according to the release.

“Hate crimes are not just an attack on a specific individual but a message to an entire group,” Nessel added. “That’s why they’re so damaging to communities and why we need to partner with our local authorities if we hope to eradicate them."

If you are a victim of a hate crime or have credible information about a hate crime, contact the Department of Attorney General at 313-456-0180.