The Department of Criminal Justice and the City of Chattanooga Office of Multicultural Affairs will present “A Community Education Forum on Hate Crime” on Thursday, June 24, 6-8 p.m. in the UTC Fine Arts Center, Dorothy Hackett Ward Theatre. Admission is free and the public is welcome.
According to Dr. Roger Thompson, Associate Professor and Chief Departmental Advisor in the Department of Criminal Justice, there are 38 hate groups active in Tennessee and 40 active in Georgia.
“Freedom of speech is a protected right, but when speech moves into threatening behavior, they cross the line,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the forum will examine what constitutes a hate crime, the investigation that follows, liabilities, and for those outside the circle of law enforcement, how to identify this kind of criminal behavior.
“The FBI is announcing hate crimes among adults and those under eighteen will not be tolerated and will be prosecuted,” Thompson said.
The hate crime forum will offer presentations by the U.S. Attorney’s Office – Eastern District Tennessee, FBI Knoxville Division, and Community Relations Service – U.S. Department of Justice.
Thompson is currently working on a new report for the Chattanooga Office of Multicultural Affairs which will describe how education affects crime in Chattanooga. He hopes to present his findings by the end of fall semester.