AG to tackle gun violence, hate crimes

Posted at: 04/11/2013 7:55 AM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Thursday morning New Mexico Attorney General Gary King will kick off the 2013 “Civil Rights and Respect Institute” in Santa Fe.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office, along with the Anti-Defamation League and the New Mexico District Attorney’s Association, will hold a day and a half training on civil rights and human rights issues affecting New Mexico.

These topics include hate crimes, gun violence, human trafficking, teen dating violence, cyberbullying, title IX and legal rights for adolescents.

On Thursday morning, they’ll tackle the issue of hate crimes. This includes a presentation on the case of a 22-year-9 old Navajo man with developmental disabilities who three Farmington men branded with a swastika.

Law enforcement will receive special training on how to identify and address these crimes.

That’s already a priority under state law; there are statutes in place requiring 2 hour instructional courses both during academy and within departments on identifying and reporting hate crimes.

Officials say since law enforcement is on the front lines looking for these crimes, they’re a logical place to focus this training.

They’ll also address the issue of kids and gun violence in New Mexico. A recent report that ranked New Mexico 7th in the nation for gun violence also revealed some startling statistics about kids killed by gun violence here.

Using data from the CDC, it showed New Mexico kids were killed by guns at a rate 60 percent higher than the national average and murdered at a rate 40 percent higher than the national average.

It’s an issue law enforcement in New Mexico has been working to address, including through an initiative called “Fight Crime: Invest in Kids.”