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tv   Attorney General on Hate Crime Charges Against Accused Buffalo NY Shooter  CSPAN  June 16, 2022 2:36am-3:03am EDT

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a.g. garland: good morning, everyone. i'm joined by the assistant attorney general for civil rights, kristin clarke, associate attorney general gupta. a horrific attack hit buffalo, i said the justice department is investigating the matter as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent
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extremism. today i spoke to the loved ones of the voisms that attack and told them the justice department has filed against the man who committed this heinous crime that killed 10 people. he is charged with 10 count os committing a hate crime resulting in death. three counts committing a hate crime involving and aterpt to kill. 10 counts of using a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence. and three counts of newsing a firearm during and relation to a crime of violence. the affidavit in support of the complaint quotes the defendant as stating that his goal was to, quote, kill as many blacks as possible. the affidavit outlines how the defendant prepared for months to carry out this attempt.
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it allege he is 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 topps store because it's where a high percentage, high density of black people can be found. and he made a map of the inside of the store, quote, and decided the best plan of attack for the highest chance of 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 the defendant wrote about his acquisition of firearms and other supplies for the attack and travels to topps on multiple occasions to sketch the interior of the store, count the number of black people present, and observe the presence of black security guards. on may 14, the defendant arrived
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at topps wearing a tactical style helmet, camouflage clothing, body armor and a go-pro video camera and carrying a loaded bushmaster xr-15 rifle and multiple loaded magazines. the affidavit allege he is repeatedly targeted, shot and killed black people. at one point he aimed his rifle at a white male topps employee who had been shot in the leg and injured. instead of shooting the white employee, the gunman apologized to him before continuing his attack. ballistics evidence recovered indicated that the gunman fired approximately 60 shots during the attack. in the days and weeks since the attack we have all witnessed the strength of this community's bond, its resilience and its love. i am humbled to have just felt that firsthand. in my discussions with the
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families. hate-fueled acts of violence terrorize not only the individuals who are attacked, but the entire community. 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 obligation. justice department was founded more than 150 years ago with the first principal task of protecting black americans and our democracy. from white supremacist violence. today we approach that task with ea the same degree of urgency as we did then. we fully recognize the threat that hatred and violent extremism pose to the safety of the american people and american democracy. we will be relentless in our efforts to combat hate crimes
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and support the communities terrorized by them and to hold responsible those who perpetrate 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 will be attacked by someone who hates them because of the color of their skin. someone who commits that act because he scub subscribes to the vile 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. it is the duty of every american to stand against such hate. i'm now pleased to turn the podium over to u.s. attorney
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ross and i will return afterwards for a few thoughts. ms. ross: thank you, attorney general garland. i am am the district attorney for the state of new york. i am a native of buffalo, new york. on may 14 i received the call no one wants to receive, there'd been a shooting at the topps market and multiple fatalities
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on scene. immediately after the call i assembled a team from the united states attorney's office and put them into action. we have not stopped since that day and will not stop until the case comes to a coon kop collusion. as a former prosecutor, when i was sworn in as u.s. attorney i fully understood that racially motivated violence was increasing across the country and represented a threat to all americans. still, there are no words that can adequately capture what it meant to see this sort of terror come to buffalo to 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.
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we must prove these allegations and intend 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 addressing this unspeakable tragedy. i know i speak for all of us 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 would be thorough. it will be fair. it will be comprehensive and it will reflect what is best about our community and about democracy. i would now like toin viet associate attorney general
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vanita gupta to take the microphone. ms. gupta: thank you, u.s. attorney ross. it is tragic we are standing here in the aftermath of such a horrifying act of violence and grieve with the families who lost loved ones and for the whole community. hate crimes are insidious. they instill fear across entire communities and they 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, theye supremacists are still terrorizing black americans and others of color. the justice department won't tolerate it. the jus kit department's top priority is holding accountable
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those who commit heinous act. we must all continue to combat hate and discrimination before they escalate to 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 incidents of mass violence. the office of victims of crime deploy officials to work with the community and state officials to ensure that everyone who needs and wants services has continued access to mental health and other resources. the justice department stands with you and will continue to work to make real this nation's promise of justice and equality under the law. i am now going to pass it to assistant attorney general clarke. ms. clarke: thank you, associate attorney general gupta. mr. attorney general and colleagues, today i join my colleagues in grieving the
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innocent victims of this senseless crime and expressing my condolences to their families and the buffalo community that has suffered through this traumatic event. i grieve with you as a new yorker. as a black woman. and as chief federal law enforcement officer for civil rights at the department of justice. every day we see evidence that racially motivated hate crimes are on the rise across our country. according to the f.b.i.'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 supremacist-fueled violence. as attorney general garland
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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's why the justice department is also hard at work addressing noncriminal acts of bias that rear their ugly head inside our schools, workplaces, and our neighborhoods. we're also addressing the need for hate crime prevention through education and awareness. this multipart strategy is critical to eliminating hate, root and branch. today we charge this defendant with violating the matthew shepard and james byrd jr. hate crimes prevention act. alleging he murdered 10 innocent people and attempted to murder three others with a firearm
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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 them, prosecute them, and remedy the harm they cause to communities. that is our duty. and we intend to fulfill it. i want to now invite deputy director of the f.b.i. to speak. >> thank you, sent to attorney general clarke and i want to send my condolences to the families and loved ones of those injured and killed in this attack. we recognize the enduring threat of those who commit hate crimes and the devastating impact on people and communities. taking action against these
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threats is our highest priority. the full weight and resources of the department of justice and the f.b.i. 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 and this community and to engage in the relentless pursuit of justice. the f.b.i.'s national evidence response team, along with teams 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 the f.b.i. victims specialist in collaboration with our state and local counterparts to provide essential support and assistance to those impacted by this unimaginable tragedy. strong, well-established relationships with our law
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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 identified this attack as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism directed at the very heart of this community. and we've 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, 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 always all who have been so severely impacted by this terrible
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tragedy. thank you. reporter: will you seek the death penalty? would you aprove it if it is sought? mr. garland: it is a death penalty eligible crime. there has to be and digit, then the regulatory procedures will be followed and families and survivors will be consulted. reporter: hi there. the defendant in this case was an 18-year-old who used an assault rifle. the current framework being considered by congress does not include a provision that would raise the minimum age to 21 to purchase such a gun. should it include such a provision? and what else would the justice department like to see in any legislation that congress is considering to help fight gun
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crime? mr. garland: the justice department agrees with the president that 18-year-olds should not be able to purchase a gun like this. right now there are meaningful negotiations going on in congress with respect to a framework and we look forward to assistanting congress in any way we can. in bringing those to fruition. reporter: you talked to the family. did they tell you if you can say they want the death penalty or not? mr. garland: i came here specifically to talk to the families, to express our support and our deep sympathy for what happened to them. and to tell them exactly what we are charging the defendant with. out of respect for their privacy, i think i shouldn't share any more than that. reporter: can you talk about what the investigation is
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learning in terms of what kind of communications the individual may have had with others and were others involved in the plotting or inciting the individual. mr. garland: let me just begin. the complaint charges only a single defendant. the investigation is ongoing. i think i'll turn it over to the deputy director of the f.b.i. for further discussion about the investigation. >> as the attorney general stated the investigation is active and ongoing and we're leave nothing stone unterned. that's something we'll continue to look at. anyone associated with, in communication with this individual, we're continuing to pursue that. we'll see where it leads. if it leads us to a place where justice is warranted we'll go there. >> could you explain the process of seeking the death penalty?
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what happens in terms of the sentencing for that? mr. garland: there's a justice department manual and regulations established when janet reno was the attorney general, that established a process for discussion of and evaluation of whether the death penalty is appropriate in individual cases and in particular it involves discussions which the u.s. attorney will have -- with the families and the survivors. that's really all i can say at this point. reporter: thank you very much. forgive me for an off-topic question but there have been some criticisms about what's going on outside of justices' homes and calls for those individuals to be prosecuted. do you have any comments on those criticisms?
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mr. garland: so, justice department takes extraordinarily seriously any violence, criminal threats of violence, intimidation, harassment, of the justices or of any government official. for that reason, we swiftly moved to provide 24-7 protection for the justices including of their residences. for that reason, i called a meeting with the marshal of the supreme court, with the director of the marshal service, with the deputy director of the f.b.i., and with our prosecutors. right from the very beginning, to be sure that we were assessing all possible threats and providing all resources available. i also met with the judges, judge salas and judge sullivan, of the judicial conferences committee on judicial security, pledged our full support as well as our support for the legislation that they're seeking. there is currently legislation passing through congress and
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justice department is extremely supportive of that security legislation. reporter: we understand that there are reports that the suspect was in a chat room with others and could have told them about the shooting. are there plans for charges against those people or did the investigation include looking into that chat room for details? mr. garland: i think it's fair to say the investigation is ongoing and that includes all aspects of who the defendant spoke with at any time. that's a normal administrative course for our investigations. i won't say anymore. >> just the same, we're pursuing every avenue, leave nothing stone urn turned and looking at everyone who may have been in communication with this individual leading up to the attack. reporter: was there any
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indication that the shooter received help from anyone? [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2022]
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