The Orange County Sheriff's Department believes that it is the right of every person regardless of race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, to be secure and protected from fear, intimidation, and physical harm caused by the activities of violent groups and individuals. It shall be the philosophy of the Orange County Sheriff's Department that all reported cases of "hate crimes" will be fully investigated.
A "hate crime" (California Penal Code '422.6) is an act, an attempted act, or a threatened act by any person or group of persons to cause physical injury, emotional suffering or property damage against the person of property of another individual or group which is or appears to be motivated, all or in part, by race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. These crimes include, but are not limited to, threatening phone calls, hate mail, physical assaults, vandalism, cross burnings, fire bombing, or destruction of other religious symbols.
The California State Attorney General's Office on Civil Rights Enforcement Unit has established an Anti-Hate Violence Project. This unit is charged with instituting civil action in cases of hate violence which may not meet the burden of proof requirements necessary in a criminal case. Law enforcement agencies may forward cases to the Attorney General's Office that might be better handled through civil action or where the criminal investigation is complete and sufficient evidence for criminal prosecution is not available.
One example of a case suitable for referral would be a situation wherein an individual begins harassing and threatening a neighbor, racial epithets are yelled at the victim, harassment continues, and the victim is forced to live in fear. Without corroboration this would be a difficult case to successfully prosecute. A civil injunction or other appropriate civil relief might be effective in helping to solve the problem. If a civil injunction is obtained and violated by the suspect a misdemeanor has been committed and can be prosecuted.
For more information please call the Victim Violence Specialist at (714) 647-7498.