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					RESPONDING TO A   Since the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, the Sikhs and other minority
                  communities residing worldwide have faced a sharp increase in bias crimes and
                                                                                                    Therefore, actions such as verbal comments on a person’s race, religion,
                                                                                                    gender etc., distribution of written materials based in hate or prejudice,
 POTENTIAL BIAS   bias incidents. In lieu of this, UNITED SIKHS expanded its original mission       or rallies and marches of hate groups are not illegal and are protected by
                                                                                                    the United Stated Constitution as the right to freely express oneself and
INCIDENT/CRIME    to also serve as an advocacy organization for Sikhs globally to ensure that
                  justice is properly served in bias crime cases involving Sikhs. This brochure
                                                                                                    to freely speak.

                  shall define terms that are often involved in bias incidents/crimes               However, it is when such expressions are the motivation behind a
                  investigations, differentiate between a bias crime and a bias incident, outline   criminal act, such as a murder, assault or harassment, that the incident is
                                                                                                    labeled a Bias Crime/ Hate Crime. For example, if those same verbal
                  steps to take when a bias incident/crime has occurred and provide contact         comments were the prelude to an assault or murder, if that hate rally
                  information of individuals and agencies to communicate with in case of a bias     degraded into a rampage targeting minorities or if the distributor of hate
                  incident/crime. IF AT ANY TIME YOU ARE UNSURE OF TO DO,                           material vandalized someone’s property with hate symbols or speech,
                                                                                                    the event is categorized as a Bias Crime. While the criminal act itself is
                  PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REGIONAL UNITED SIKHS                                         devastating in itself, bias as a motivating factor can lead to further fear
                  DIRECTOR FOR GUIDANCE IMMEDIATELY.                                                and torment to the victimized individual or community, which may fear
                                                                                                    further acts of terror against them. Because of this additional damage,
                                                                                                    Bias Crimes levy heavier punishment against the offender than the same
                  DEFINITIONS                                                                       crime without bias.

                                                                                                    IF A BIAS INCIDENT/BIAS CRIME HAS OCCURRED…
                  In order to participate in data collection, reporting and disseminating
                  information regarding the bias incident/crime to the various individuals and      If you are contacted to respond to a potential bias crime/incident, please
                  organizations involved, it is vital that the UNITED SIKHS representative have     follow the following steps in properly collecting data regarding the
                  a firm grasp of certain concepts and definitions of terms that arise during the   incident, contacting the appropriate authorities (if not already done so),
                                                                                                    contacting various press agencies to draw attention to the matter (this
                  investigation into the matter. They are as follows:                               assists in placing responsibility on the law enforcement agencies to
                                                                                                    actively evaluate and pursue the investigation), and civil rights
                  Bias - A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of                 organizations for assistance.
                  persons based on their race, religion, or ethnicity/national origin.
                                                                                                    List of Equipment to Bring to the Investigation:
                  Hate Group - An organization whose primary purpose is to promote                   Notebook and pen
                  animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a(n) race,           Tape Recorder
                  religion, or ethnicity/national origin which differs from that of the              Cell phone
                  members of the organization, e.g., the Ku Klux Klan, American Nazi                 Your UNITED SIKHS card
                  Party, etc.                                                                        Camera (digital preferred)

                  Responding Officer - The first law enforcement officer on the scene of
                  an alleged bias incident. This officer is responsible for determining                   1)    Respond to the victim’s location as soon as possible. If
                  whether a “Suspected Bias Incident” has occurred.                                             possible, please contact the victim in advance to let them
                                                                                                                know who you are, that you represent UNITED SIKHS, and
                  Second Level Judgment Officer/Unit - The officer or unit within the                           what time you are coming.
                  law enforcement department who has received in-depth training in bias-
                  related incidents and is tasked with making the final determination                     2)    Remain calm, empathetic, and make sure that your demeanor
                  whether a hate crime has occurred.                                                            is not aggressive.

                  BIAS INCIDENT VS. BIAS CRIME – AN IMPORTANT                                             3)    Contact the police and the emergency medical services for
                  DIFFERENCE                                                                                    any injuries if not already done so.

                  Whenever an individual(s) is subjected to any action that is founded in
                  another’s bias, that/those individual(s) feel victimized. However, the                  4)    If the police are already at the scene, do not interfere with
                  event can be categorized into two distinct categories: Bias Incident or                       any of the police officers’ work. It is essential that they are
                  Bias Crime. It is absolutely vital to fully grasp the difference between                      allowed to perform their investigation without hindrance.
                  the two events, as one carries criminal penalties (Crime) and one does                        Address them with proper respect. The police may demand
                  not (Incident).                                                                               to know whom you are, so please identify yourself as a
                                                                                                                representative of UNITED SIKHS and that your purpose is
                  A Bias Incident is any expression, whether it is spoken, written or                           to see to the victim’s needs.
                  symbolic form, which is motivated by some form of prejudice on the
                  basis of race, ethnicity, age, gender, etc.
5)    If requested, you may serve as a translator between the                      The community strongly denounced what they thought was                 his/her bias? For example, the offender shouted
      victim and the police officer, provided you are comfortable                  a bias crime, only to find out that the “bias crime” was               a racial epithet at the victim.
      and competent in the language being spoken by the victim.                    staged. It is prudent that the investigation be allowed to            Were bias-related drawings, markings, symbols,
      However, both the police and the victim should consent to                    continue by the police and that they be allowed to do so               or graffiti left at the crime scene? For example, a
      this.                                                                        unhindered by you or the Sikh community. Any statement                 swastika was painted on the door of a synagogue.
                                                                                   issued should utilize the words “alleged bias incident” and           Were certain objects, items, or things that
6)    The police and the victim have the right to refuse your help                 reassure the Sikh community to remain calm and let the                 indicate bias used, e.g., the offenders wore white
      or ask that you come back later. If the victim refuses your                  investigation continue.                                                sheets with hoods covering their faces, a burning
      help altogether, then you may return from the scene. Please            14)   Contact other civil rights organizations, such as the                  cross was left in front of the victim’s residence?
      report this to your Regional Director to apprise them of the                 American Civil Liberties Union to the scene to assist in the          Is the victim a member of a racial, religious,
      situation. If you are asked to come back later, you may                      matter. (Please see the document “Database of Agencies”                disability, ethnic/national origin, or sexual
      ascertain as to what time and location, along with taking                    for Contact Information or relevant organizations).                    orientation group that is overwhelmingly
      down the victim’s contact information for communication.                                                                                            outnumbered by other residents in the
                                                                        AFTER THE INVESTIGATION AT THE SCENE                                              neighborhood where the victim lives and the
7)    If you are allowed to remain, please take notes about                                                                                               incident took place?
      anything related to the scene, any conversations between the                                                                                       Was the victim visiting a neighborhood where
      police officer and the victim, or any other relevant              After returning from the scene having collected as much data as                   previous hate crimes were committed against
      information. However, if you are requested to stop by the         possible, create a report that compiles the information in a systematic           other members of his/her racial, religious,
      police, do so, as they have the right to keep the information     manner and convey this information to your Regional Director, who                 ethnic/national origin, and where tensions
      collected confidential during the investigation.                  may then forward it to an appropriate UNITED SIKHS representative.                remained high against his/her group?
                                                                        You may also be called on to draft a Community Voice/Press Release               Have several incidents occurred in the same
8)    After the police have been allowed to complete their data         regarding the matter. Again, assure the Sikh community to remain calm             locality, at or about the same time, and were the
      collection and interviewing of the victim and have left, you      and to let the authorities finish the investigation without any hindrance.        victims all of the same race, religion, or
      may begin personal communication with the victim.                                                                                                   ethnic/national origin?
                                                                        When drafting the report, you may utilize the following questions to             Was the victim engaged in activities promoting
9)    Ask the victim to tell you the full details of the incident and   assist your conclusions as to whether the event was a bias                        his/her race, religion, disability,
      make sure to record all details. A tape recorder or a video       incident/crime, keeping the definitions of the two terms in mind. These           ethnicity/national origin, or sexual orientation?
      camera will assist in capturing all these details. If you have    questions may be asked of the victim and eyewitnesses as well to provide          For example, the victim is a member of
      any questions or require clarification on anything said, please   a more complete picture of the event:                                             UNITED SIKHS, is a Sikh activist etc.
      ask the victim.                                                                                                                                    Did the incident coincide with a holiday relating
                                                                                                                                                          to, or a date of particular significance to, a race,
10)   Photograph or record by video camera any injuries to the                                Is the motivation of the alleged offender known?           religion, ethnic/national origin, e.g., Sikh Parade,
      victim, any bias symbols left on the property, any evidence                             Was the incident known to have been motivated              Nagar Kirtan, etc.?
      that you find pertinent to the event. DO NOT TAKE                                        by racial, religious, ethnic?                             Was the offender previously involved in a similar
      ANYTHING FROM THE SCENE. This may be state                                              Does the victim perceive the action of the                 hate crime or is he/she a member of a hate
      evidence that the police may require to carry out their                                  offender to have been motivated by bias?                   group?
      investigation.                                                                          Is there no clear other motivation for the                Were there indications that a hate group was
                                                                                               incident?                                                  involved? For example, a hate group claimed
11)   Always remember to interview any eyewitnesses regarding                                 Were any racial, religious, ethnic biased remarks          responsibility for the crime or was active in the
      details concerning the event and take down their contact                                 made by the offender?                                      neighborhood.
      information.                                                                                                                                       Does a historically established animosity exist
                                                                                              Were there any offensive symbols, words, or acts
                                                                                               which are known to represent a hate group or               between the victim’s and offender’s groups?
12)   Be prepared to serve as and advocate for the victim. The                                                                                           Is this incident similar to other known and
                                                                                               other evidence of bias against the victim’s group?
      victim may want to speak to the media about the event; in                                                                                           documented cases of bias, particularly in this
                                                                                              Did the incident occur on a holiday or other day
      which case, you may serve to translate for the victim. The                                                                                          area? Does it fit a similar modus operandi to
                                                                                               of significance to the victim’s or offender’s
      victim may also decline to speak to the media, in which case,                                                                                       these other incidents?
                                                                                               group?
      you shall ensure that the media is not allowed to harass the                                                                                       Has this victim been previously involved in
                                                                                              What do the demographics of the area tell you
      victim.                                                                                                                                             similar situations?
                                                                                               about the incident?
                                                                                              Is the victim a member of a target racial,                Are there other explanations for the incident,
13)   DO NOT refer to the event as a bias crime (this is a legal                                                                                          such as a childish prank, unrelated vandalism,
      term that only the police should use as a label after the                                religious, disability, ethnic/national origin, or
                                                                                               sexual-orientation group?                                  etc.?
      conclusion of their investigation), make any statements to
                                                                                              Were the offender and the victim of different             Did the offender have some understanding of
      the media concluding that this was a bias crime, make any
                                                                                               race, religion, and ethnicity/national origin?             the impact his/her actions would have on the
      promises and guarantees that you cannot fulfill or instruct
                                                                                              Would the incident have taken place if the victim          victim?
      the Sikh community or the local community in any way.
      Keep steadfast in your duty to assist the victim and collect                             and offender were of the same race, religion, and
                                                                                               ethnicity/national origin?                            Remember, if you are unsure of what to do or say,
      data. All other activities carry the potential to place you in
                                                                                              Were biased oral comments, written statements,        PLEASE CONTACT YOUR REGIONAL
      violating the law. Previous bias incidents have taught us that
                                                                                               or gestures made by the offender that indicate        DIRECTOR FOR GUIDANCE!!!
      some very disturbed individuals have staged bias events for a
      variety of petty reasons, to the insult of the Sikh community.

				
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posted:2/26/2012
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