hate crimes

44 petitions

Started 1 month ago

Petition to Department of Justice

Charge Accused White Supremacist Killer of Iranian American Student with a Hate Crime

On September 7, 2015, Shayan Mazroei, a 22-year-old student was stabbed by Craig Tanber – an admitted white-supremacist, outside of a local bar he frequented in Laguna Niguel, CA. Shayan later died of his wounds at the hospital. Tanber and his longtime girlfriend and Orange County employee, Elizabeth Thornburg, began hurling racial slurs and epithets at Shayan as he and a friend dined at the pub. The pair called Shayan “terrorist,” “Arab,” and “f--cking Iranian” before Tanber fatally stabbed him in the chest, leaving him bleeding on the floor as he took off in a car driven by Thornburg. Surveillance video from the bar also shows Thornburg spitting on Shayan at least three times. Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has not only failed to charge Shayan’s murder as a hate crime, but has also not charged Elizabeth Thornburg with any crime at all, despite her involvement in the events that led up to the fatal stabbing, as well as her driving Mr. Tanber away from the crime scene. As the anti-Iranian sentiment and hate crimes against Iranians-Americans and other people from majority Muslim countries have seen a staggering rise by hate groups across the country, it is more important now than ever to prosecute hate crimes as hate crimes under the law. When a local or state authority fails to properly charge and prosecute, it is the duty and responsibility of the federal government to intervene, investigate, and charge hate crimes as appropriate. Failure to do so would effectively concede that the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crime Prevention Act was nothing more than a symbolic law that will seldom be utilized – that hate crimes against certain communities are tolerable or acceptable in the United States. A successful hate crime prosecution requires two main elements: a known suspect and a motivation by animus or bias towards a protected class of people. Here, we have a known white supremacist suspect, and multiple witness accounts which establish this fatal stabbing was motivated by Shayan Mazroei’s Iranian heritage. It is our position that Mr. Tanber and Ms. Thornburg violated 8 U.S.C. § 249 by committing an offense motivated by the actual or perceived national origin of Shayan Mazroei after noticing a prominently placed Iranian-inspired tattoo on Shayan’s forearm with Farsi script spelling “esgh” which translated to “love.” Mr. Tanber, with the encouragement and active participation of Ms. Thornburg, hurled racial slurs at Shayan and willfully stabbed Shayan to death using a knife which traveled in interstate or foreign commerce. Mr. Tanber was then driven away by Ms. Thornburg in a motor vehicle on a public roadway, which qualify as an instrumentality and channel of interstate commerce under the statute. Given the failure of the State authorities to charge a hate crime in this case, it is the position of the undersigned that a prosecution of Mr. Tanber and Ms. Thornburg by the United States under 8 U.S.C. § 249 is in the public interest and necessary to secure substantial justice. Perpetrators of federal hate crimes must be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law, and Shayan Mazroei is no exception to this rule. Craig Tanber and Elizabeth Thornburg took something from the Mazroei family that night; they took their only son, a bright and caring young man who touched the lives of everyone he met and had the brightest future this country has to offer ahead of him. But even more, Tanber and Thornburg took something from the community that night as well: a sense of peace and safety. Hate crimes must never be normalized in a civil society. We ask that the Department of Justice open a federal hate crime investigation into the fatal stabbing of Shayan Mazroei, and bring federal charges as appropriate.

Shayan Modarres
58,800 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Andre Carson, Indiana State House, Indiana State Senate, Brian Bosma, Ed DeLaney, Mike Pence, Eric Holcomb, John Ruckelshaus, Susan Glick, Greg Taylor

Pass Hate Crime Laws in Indiana

Indiana is one of five states in the US to not have any hate crime laws passed. The bill proposed in Indiana would have allowed bias against a person's race, religion, color, sex, gender identity, disability, national origin, ancestry, or sexual orientation to be considered as an "aggravating circumstance" that could merit tougher sentencing, as is the case with federal hate crime laws. And while the FBI can help investigate and prosecute hate crimes, they rarely take them on because most cases fall under purview of state law. In the week after the presidential election, ten reported hateful incidents occurred. Hate crimes are not as uncommon as you would hope them to be. Mike Pence is one of the most vocal opponents of hate crime legislation stating that to pass such laws "quell religious expression."  Without hate crime laws, a drunken bar fight is convicted the same as a beating of someone because they are gay, black, transgender, etc. We cannot make claims of acceptance and love when acts of hatred are not being harshly convicted. Hate crimes do not just effect an individual, it makes an entire group feel at risk and unsafe. This was seen in the case of Matthew Shepard when the entire LGBTQ community felt personally attacked and felt as if they had just lost years of progress. This was also seen in the case of James Byrd Jr. who was "lynched" in June 1998 by a group of white supremacists where the African American community felt as if years of progress in accepting other races was lost in the blink of an eye. Hate crimes are clearly not similar to any other crimes and impacts more than just a few people, so why are they convicted as equal to other crimes? After learning the Matthew Shepard story through performing The Laramie Project this past October, I have become incredibly motivated to push hate crime laws in my very own state. Learning that Indiana is one of five states to not have hate crime laws is astonishing and extremely displeasing. I am only a high school student, but, in numbers, we can make a difference. I hope that one day there are hate crime laws in every state, but for right now, I would like to focus on passing these laws in Indiana. This is not a right wing issue or a left wing issue, it is a morality issue. Hate crimes are very recent and passing these laws in Indiana will further discourage acts committed out of hate and bigotry. Please share this so that the astounding number of hate crimes committed in Indiana will decrease and Hoosiers don't have to be so afraid to be themselves and don't have to worry so much about things they simply cannot change.

Emily Myers
824 supporters
Update posted 5 months ago

Petition to Glenn Thompson

Demand Rep. Glenn "GT" Thompson Censure President Trump's Charlottesville Remarks

READ THE RESOLUTION OF CENSURE This petition was created by PA5 Truth and Action, a grassroots voters' group whose purpose is to hold PA5's representative accountable. The current representative for PA5 is Glenn "GT" Thompson. Glenn Thompson has offered only the weakest of written statements regarding the acts of domestic terrorism perpetrated in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017. He has also not said anything in response to President Trump's incendiary remarks following the death of Heather Heyer. Trump has falsely said that "both sides" were to blame for the violence, and attempted to create a moral equivalency between hate groups and those who were protesting against them. Since then, he has made a series of oral and written statements which suggest that Trump is sympathetic to the cause of hate groups. As Rep. Thompson is surely aware, there are numerous hate groups in his congressional district, and Trump's winks and nods to these groups will serve to further embolden them. What happened at the University of Virginia could easily happen at Penn State or another institution in our district next time. By providing cover for the violence of neo-Nazis, Klan members, and white supremacists, Trump is normalizing racism and bigotry. He is encouraging the very worst of us to continue their racist crusade. He is attempting to, wittingly or not, weave the vile ideology of hatred into the fabric of American discourse. For this, Congress must censure the president.  We must as one voice unequivocally announce that there is no room for hatred and bigotry in the United States. By publicly announcing his support for the resolution of censure introduced by Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Rep. Thompson will show that he has our best interests at heart, and will defend the liberties of his constituents. Please only sign this petition if you are a constituent of Rep. Glenn Thompson. You can identify your representative using this tool. Photo attribution:  

PA5 Truth and Action
617 supporters