Gruesome Hate Crime in New Bedford, Mass. Underscores Need for Urgent Senate Action

Media 02.3.06

WASHINGTON – Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, made the following statement in response to the appalling hate crime committed in New Bedford, Massachusetts on Wednesday night, where a man walked into a bar, confirmed that it was a gay bar and began swinging a hatchet and shooting people. He seriously injured three people and remains at large.

“Hate crime violence is a stain on the fabric of American democracy. What happened in New Bedford, Massachusetts earlier this week is a tragic and powerful example of why the Senate must stop stalling on a long overdue response to violent hate crimes.

Americans need peace of mind and local law enforcement must have all the tools they need to fight hate crimes. Our senators need to stop dragging their feet and pass the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, a law that will save lives. This bill will expand existing federal hate crime laws to include gender, disability, and sexual orientation. While we know bigotry can’t be legislated out of existence, a forceful, moral and immediate response to hate violence is a fundamental step in the right direction.”