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tv   Attorney General on Hate Crime Charges Against Accused Buffalo NY Shooter  CSPAN  June 15, 2022 9:04pm-9:31pm EDT

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instant, but mediacom was ready. we never slowed down. schools and businesses was virtual. we powered a new reality. we are built to keep you ahead. >> mediacom support c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> attorney general merrick garland traveled to buffalo, new york, where he announced federal hate crime charges against the alleged 18-year-old shooter who killed 10 people in a supermarket. an affidavit alleges the shooter selected the location in the buffalo area because it had the highest percentage of black people close to where he lived. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022] [captioning performed by the
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national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] attorney general merrick garland: good morning. i am joined by several people. on may 14, a horrific attack targeted the black community of buffalo. i said on that date that the justice department is investigating this matter as i hate crime and racially-motivated extremist. today, the loved ones of the victims and survivors of that attack, i told them the justice department filed a complaint against the individual who allegedly committed this heinous crime, which killed 10 people, all of whom were black, and wounded three others. it charges the shooter with 10 counts of committing a hate crime, resulting in death, three
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counts of committing a hate crime involving an attempt to kill, 10 counts of using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence, and three counts of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. the affidavit in support of the complaint quotes the defendant stating that his goal was to "kill as many blacks as possible." of the affidavit outlines how the defendant prepared for months to carry out this attack. it alleges he selected a target in this zip code because it has the highest percentage of black people close enough to where he lives. he selected the tops store because that is where a high percentage of black people can be found, and he made a map of the inside of the store "and decided the best plan of attack for the highest chance of
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success. the affidavit also notes the defendant chronicled this plan on his discord messaging account in the months leading up to the attack. citing that account, the affidavit alleges that defendant wrote about his acquisition of firearms and other supplies for the attack and traveled to tops on multiple occasions to sketch the interior of the store, count the number of black people present, and observe the president of black security guards. on may 14, the defendant arrived at tops wearing a tactical-style helmet, camouflage clothing, body armor, and go pro videocam, and carrying a loaded bushmaster rifle, and multiple loaded magazines. the affidavit alleges he repeatedly targeted, shot, and kill black people. at one point, he aimed his rifle at a white male tops employee
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shot in the leg and injured. instead of shooting the white employee, the gunman apologized before continuing his attack. ballistic evidence recovered at tops indicated that the gunman fired approximate 60 shots during the attack. in the days and weeks since the attack, we have witnessed the strength of this community, its bonds, resilience, and love. i am humbled to have felt that firsthand in my discussions with the families. hate-fueled acts of violence terrorize not only the individuals attacked, but entire communities. hate brings immediate devastation and it inflicts lasting fear. at the justice department, we view confronting hate crimes as both our legal and our moral
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obligation. the justice department was founded 150 years ago with the first principle task of protecting black americans and our democracy from white supremacist violence. today, we approach the task with the same degree urgency that we did then. we fully recognize the threat that hatred and violent extremism poses to the safety of the american people and american democracy. we will be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes from support the communities terrorized by those crimes, and hold accountable those perpetrated them. no one in this country should have to live in fear that they will go to work or shop at a grocery store and be attacked by someone who hates them because of the color of their skin. someone who commits that act
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because he subscribes to the vaio theory that only people like him belong in this country, and no one in this country should have to bury a loved one because of such hate. the justice department will never stop working to fulfill our duty to protect the american people from hate-fueled violence . indeed, it is the duty of every american to stand against such hate. i am now pleased to turn the podium over to the u.s. attorney ross and afterwards for a few questions. attorney general ross: thank you for your strong support of this community during this difficult time. thank you for your leadership. i am the united states attorney
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for the western district of new york. i was born and raised in the city of buffalo, attended buffalo public schools, and continue to be a proud citizen of buffalo. on the afternoon of march 14, i received a call that no chief law enforcement officer ever wants to receive good i said march, but i mean may 14. there had been a shooting at tops friendly market, and there were multiple fatalities on scene. immediately after receiving the call, i assembled a team from the u.s. attorney's office and put them into action. we have not stopped since that date, and we will not stop until this case comes to a conclusion. as a former career prosecutor with over 23 years as an assistant united states attorney , when i was sworn in as the u.s. attorney, i fully understood that racially motivated violence was increasing across the country and it represented a threat to
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all americans. still, there are no words that can adequately capture what it meant to see this terror come to buffalo and wreak havoc in our community. as alleged in the complaint, the defendant spent months planning and arming himself for an attack that would target black residents of jefferson avenue. we know the horrific outcome, 10 people killed, three people injured, and a community terrorized, but as you are aware , every defendant is innocent until proven guilty. we must prove these allegations, and we intended to do so. since the day of this attack, we have worked tirelessly to respond, and we will continue to respond until this case is concluded. i want to commend and thank all of the local and federal officials who have committed themselves to this unspeakable tragedy. i know i speak for all of us
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when i say we will do everything in our power to hold the shooter accountable and to secure as much justice as we possibly can for the victims, their families, and this community. this process may not be as fast as some would hope, but it will be thorough. it will be fair. it will become printed. it will reflect -- it will be comprehensive. it will reflect what is best about our community and democracy. i would like to invite associate attorney general group to to take the microphone. -- gupta to take the microphone. assistant attorney general group upta: we grieve with the families and those who have lost loved ones. hate crimes are insidious and instill fear across entire
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communities and undermine the principles upon which our democracy stands. no person and no community should ever have to experience this. as the attorney general mentioned, around the time that the justice department was founded, the ku klux klan was carrying out a reign of terror against black americans. more than 150 years later, white supremacists are still terrorizing black americans and other communities of color and the justice department will not tolerate it. the justice department's top priority is holding accountable those who commit these heinous acts, but we must all continue to combat hate and discrimination in all its forms and address them before they escalate the violence. every community deserves to feel safe and protected. through vital grant programs and technical assistance, the department is working diligently to support victims and jurisdictions that have experienced these traumatic incidents of mass violence. here in buffalo, the office for victims of crime deployed two
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expert mass violence consultants to work with the community and state officials and ensure that everybody who needs and wants services has continued access to mental health and other resources. the justice department stands with you and we will continue to fulfill the promise of justice and equality under the law. i will pass it to assistant clark. assistant attorney general clark: thank you associate attorney general gupta. today i join my colleagues is grieving the innocent victims of this senseless crime and express my condolences to their families in the buffalo community that has suffered through this dramatic event. i grieve with you as a new yorker, as a black woman, and as she federal law enforcement officer for civil rights at the department of justice. every day we see evidence that racially-motivated hate crimes
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are on the rise across our country, according to the fbi's most recent data. most victims of racially motivated hate crimes are black. these acts of hate are a stain on our democracy and have no place in our society. let me be clear, the civil rights division and the entire justice department will not stand by idly in the fight against white supremacists- fueled violence. as attorney general merrick garland noted, we will pursue the perpetrators of hate crimes and hold them accountable and we will be vigilant in our quest to secure justice for the victims and their families. prosecutions alone will not stop the spread of hate. that is why the justice department is also hard at work addressing noncriminal acts of bias that reared their ugly head
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inside our schools, workplaces, and our neighborhoods. we are also addressing the need for hate crime prevention through education and awareness. this multi-part strategy is critical to eliminating hate, root and branch. today, we charge this defendant with violating the matthew shepard and james byrd junior hate crimes prevention act, alleging he murdered 10 innocent people and attempted to murder three others with a firearm because he wanted to kill and injure black people. a core mission of the civil rights division is the fight against the scourge of hate crimes, to prevent, prosecute, and remedy them in the harms they cause to communities. that is our duty, and we intend to fulfill it. i want to now invite deputy director of the fbi to speak
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with you. deputy director of the fbi? thank you assistant attorney general clark and good afternoon everyone. i want to begin by expressing my deepest condolences to the victims, to the families and loved ones of those murdered and injured in this vicious attack. we recognize the enduring threat posed by those who commit hate crimes and acts of violent extremism and the devastating impact on people and communities. taking action against these threats is our highest priority. the full weight and resources of the department of justice and the fbi have been brought to bear in this investigation and have involved hundreds of personnel from our buffalo field office and across the country to support the victims in this community and to engage in the relentless pursuit of justice. the fbi's national evidence response team, along with teams
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from buffalo and other field offices, deployed specialized technical equipment for the evidence recovery operation that will be crucial to the successful prosecution and the attainment of justice in this case. a community resource center was established by fbi victim specialists in collaboration with our state and local counterparts to provide essential support and assistance in those impacted by this unimaginable tragedy. strong, well-established relationships with our law enforcement partners have been indispensable to this response and investigation, and we cannot thank our partners enough for their steadfast commitment and unyielding efforts to help others. we immediately identify this attack as a hate crime and an active racially-motivated violent extremism directed at the very heart of this community .
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we have been determined from the beginning to do our part to hold accountable the person who committed this horrific attack and to help this community heal. we remain committed in our work to protect life and freedom and to help and support those who have been victimized and to seek swift and absolute justice against those who commit acts of violence and terror driven by hate. our thoughts and prayers continue to be with, as always all who have been so severely impacted by this terrible tragedy. thank you. >> we will take some questions. associated press. >> attorney general garland would you approve the death penalty? >> this is a death penalty eligible crime. the justice department has a series of procedures and follow-ups, but first, there has
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to be an indictment, then the regulatory procedures will be followed, then the families and survivors will be consulted. >> thank you. wall street journal. >> the gunman was an 18-year-old who used on assault rifle. the current framework considered by congress does not include a provision that would raise the minimum age to 21 to purchase such a firearm. should it include such a provision, what else might the just of department see in any legislation, is considering to help fight gun violence. attorney general merrick garland: the justice department agrees with the president that 18-year-old should not be able to purchase a gun like this. there are meaningful negotiations going on in congress with respect to the framework and we look forward to assisting congress in any way we can in bringing those to fruition. reporter: you talked with the families.
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did they tell you if they can say they want the death penalty to be pursued? attorney general merrick garland: so, i came here specifically to talk to the families, to express our support and our deepest sympathy for what happened to them, and to tell them exactly what we are charging in the complaint. out of respect for their privacy, i should not share more than that. >> [indiscernible] reporter: can you talk about with the investigation has learned in terms of what kind of communication the individual may have had with others, and were others involved in the plotting or at least the, inciting the individual? attorney general merrick garland: let me be clear that the complainants that charge is a single defendant. the investigation is ongoing. i think i would turn it over to the deputy director of the fbi
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for further discussion about the investigation. >> [indiscernible] >> the attorney general stated that investigation is ongoing, and we are leaving no stone unturned. that is something we continue to look up, anything or anyone connected or associated with this individual, we are continuing to pursue that and we will see where it leads. if it leads to a place where justice is warranted, we will go there. >> [indiscernible] reporter: could you explain the process of seeking the death penalty and what happens in terms of the sentencing for that? attorney general merrick garland: there is a justice department manual and regulations that were established when janet reno was attorney general that established the process for discussion of and evaluation of whether the death penalty is appropriate in individual cases,
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and in particular, it involves discussions which the u.s. attorney will have with the families and the survivors. that is really all i can say at this point. >> [indiscernible] reporter: thank you very much. forgive me for an off-topic question. there has been some criticism about the process going on outside of justices homes and calls for those individuals to be prosecuted. do you have any comments on this criticisms? attorney general merrick garland: so, the justice department takes extraordinary seriously violence, criminal threats of violence, intimidation, harassment of justices or any other government officials. for that reason, we swiftly move to provide 24/7 protection for the justices, including of the residences. for that reason, i called a meeting with the marshall of the
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supreme court, with the director of the marshals service, with the deputy director of the fbi and federal prosecutors right from the very beginning to make sure we were assessing all possible threats and using all resources available. i also met with the judges of the judicial conferences committee, judicial security, and pledged our full support in our support for the legislation they are seeking. there is currently legislation passing through congress and the justice department is extremely supportive of that security legislation. >> [indiscernible] reporter: so we understand that there are reports that the shooter was in chap rooms with others and could have told them about the shootings. are there plans for charges against those people? or does investigation including a look at that chaplain for
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details? attorney general merrick garland: as a deputy director said, the investigation is ongoing, and that includes all aspects of who the defendant spoke with at any time. that is normal in this, of course, for our investigation. >> we are pursuing every avenue, leaving no stone unturned, and we are looking at everyone who may have been in communication with this individual leading up to the attack. >> thanks, everybody. >> thank you. reporter: was there any indication the shooter received help from anyone? >> the january 6 committees public hearings continue as they release evidence gathered in the
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