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California's New AG Announces Team Dedicated To Tackling Racial Justice

Rob Bonta first presser
California Attorney General Rob Bonta Announces a New Racial Justice Bureau
(Screenshot of press conference
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California’s new attorney general Rob Bonta announced Tuesday that he’s creating a racial justice bureau that will focus much of its work on hate crimes, including the rising number of anti-Asian attacks.

Bonta said he’s hiring six new lawyers who will be led by a deputy attorney general.

"Make no mistake," Bonta said in his first news conference since taking office last month, "right now, we're in a full-on state of crisis, a full-on state of emergency when it comes to hate violence against the Asian Pacific Islander community."

Research in California suggests that hate crimes are underreported or sometimes treated as less serious incidents. A state audit in 2018 blamed the California Department of Justice for not ensuring that law enforcement agencies make regular reports.

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Bonta said that the state DOJ would be more proactive going forward.

"We can push out best practices through our bulletins to support local law enforcement on how best to identify and investigate hate crimes," Bonta said.

Other assignments for the new team include assisting with investigations of white supremacist hate groups, finding ways to make school campuses more inclusive, and working with a task force exploring how California might provide reparations to the descendants of enslaved people.

Bonta also announced plans for a virtual meeting against hate crimes later this month with the mayors of California’s 13 largest cities.