published Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Hate crimes forum scheduled today in Chattanooga

  • photo
    Office of Multicultural Affairs Director Beverly Cosley
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


What: Office of Multicultural Affairs forum on hate crime

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Eastgate Town Center, 5600 Brainerd Road

Nobody likes talking about hate crimes but they do occur, even in Chattanooga, said Office of Multicultural Affairs Director Beverly Cosley.

"Things go under the radar, but we need people to know that because it's under the radar does not mean that these things don't exist," she said.

Cosley's office is joining with the U.S. Department of Justice to host a community forum on hate crime at 5:30 p.m. today.

Panelists include William Killian, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee; Richard Lambert, special agent in charge of the FBI's Knoxville Division; and Walter Atkinson, senior conciliation specialist for the Justice Department's Community Relations Service in Atlanta.

The topic areas are hate crime awareness, prevention and response, said Cosley.

Estelle R. LeClaire said she wished attempts to educate people about hate crimes and tolerance were more effective. The transgender woman said she was harassed for most of the 15 months she lived in Chattanooga until she left April 30. She moved to another city and no longer identifies herself as a transgender woman, but only as a woman.

"I had people threaten me, harass me, and I left in the middle of the night with two police cars escorting me," said LeClaire.

Two hate crimes were committed in Chattanooga in 2009, the most recent year available on the FBI's website. One incident was race-related while the other targeted a person with a disability. There were two race-related incidents in Hamilton County that year, FBI statistics show.

Earlier this year in Chattanooga, three men drove through a predominantly black public housing site, East Lake Courts, yelling racial slurs and throwing fireworks into the windows of homes, police said.

The incident drew attention from the FBI and the local NAACP and the three men, including a Hamilton County EMT, were each charged with civil rights intimidation, Cosley said.

The case is now before the Hamilton County grand jury, which will decide whether to indict the men.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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I'm confused... was one of the three men charged with civil rights intimidation ON DUTY with Hamilton Co EMS when the incident occurred? Such actions are unacceptable practices, especially from a public servant. However, if he was not ON DUTY and NOT acting as a representative of a government agency at the time, I'm confused as to why his employer is mentioned. Where do the other two men work??

October 20, 2011 at 2:18 a.m.
chioK_V said...

And why wouldn't the fact that one was an EMT be of major concern? An individual who's in a position to provide medical treatment in emergency situations for individuals regardless of their race? I cringe to think what this EMT might have done to individuals of another in the back of ambulance on their way to hospital. Who a personal is in their personal lives affects them in their professional lives. If they're intolerant and hate other racial groups in their personal lives, that will spill over into their professional lives as well. Be they cops, EMTs, lawyers, prosecutors, judges,defense attorneys, teachers, doctors and the list is endless. In fact, one individual claiming to be an EMT on another discussion forum claimed to have sympathy and understanding for the EMT involved in this racial incident. His reason was because what EMTs often witness. But going to war shouldn't turn the warrior into a mass murderer, serial killer or serial rapist unless the individual already had those traits to begin with, and being an EMT, cop serving the public shouldn't turn those individuals into racist bigots unless they already had those traits and qualities before they became EMTs and cops.

October 20, 2011 at 5:54 a.m.
jabatten said...

I am constantly being discriminated against as a white person, is there a double standard here. Try going into Popeyes Chicken and placing an order..they openly do not want you there...both by their attitudes and body language. I have actually had them open up the drive-thru window and when I went to grab the bag....they intensionally dropped the food into my lap without EVER SAYING A WORD then SHUT THE WINDOW!!

October 20, 2011 at 7:02 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

jabatten, did they grow a chicken wing or drumstick at you? If so, you should have reported those Popeye employees to the FBI and filed a hate crime report! LOL Has anyone ever seen a fast food worker who didn't sometimes have an attitude? That not a hate crime jabby. They're likely responding to your bigoted attitude. I've been to Popeyes and other fast food restaurant, and I've never encountered such problems, but I've witnessed others { white and black} like you talk down to the workers. Maybe they should be the ones to file hate crime charges against you on behalf of fast food workers. Maybe my postive encounters have a lot to do with my ability to smile, be gracious and treat everyone with respect.

October 20, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.
macropetala8 said...

"Things go under the radar, but we need people to know that because it's under the radar does not mean that these things don't exist,"

Things go under the radar because the biggest violaters are usually the ones serving and protecting the public. Who are suppose to be protecting potential victims from such crimes. The tragedy is, they're often the violaters. They're rarely to never held accountable. Telling citizens to report such violaters is a waste of time and is often to the detriment of the victim. It's like instructing the abused child or spouse to report their abuse to someone who's a child or spousal abuser himself.

October 20, 2011 at 9:33 a.m.
dao1980 said...

Hate crimes... hilarious!

It's just a good way to polarize criminal activity and keep a division of race strongly in the minds of all involved.

October 20, 2011 at 9:40 a.m.
rolema said...

what is a hate crime ? ihated my mom @ dad for a little while after they whip me. do we hate every one that does something we do not like explane a hate crime...............

October 20, 2011 at 11:02 a.m.
amnestiUSAF84 said...

rolema said... what is a hate crime ? ihated my mom @ dad for a little while after they whip me. do we hate every one that does something we do not like explane a hate crime...............

Did you take your parents, tie them to a fence after brutally beating them for being gay and leaving them to die an agonizing and brutal death? Did you walk up to an interracial couple, shooting them to death because you don't like seeing interracial couples together? Have you routinely strip search young black males during routine traffic stops and sexually assault them because 1. You can and 2. After all, they're just black males so who gives a dam^N?!! That's the definition of hate crime, at least in part.

What I dislike about these meetings is that they're usually held far out enough that the most likely potential victims can't get to them.

October 20, 2011 at 1:12 p.m.
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