AG Donovan launches statewide reporting system to identify and address bias incidents and announces series of community forums
BENNINGTON – Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced in Bennington today that the Vermont Attorney General’s Office finished its independent investigation and review of the reported crimes committed against former Vermont State Representative Kiah Morris. The initial investigation was conducted by the Vermont State Police and the Bennington Police Department. The Attorney General announced that his Office would not seek prosecution.
“Kiah Morris was a victim of racial harassment,” Attorney Donovan said. “We have an obligation speak up as a community against racism and hate. We must work together as a state to call out hate, bring these incidents to light, and support people of color. Every Vermonter has a right to live free of fear.” The Attorney General thanked the Vermont State Police and others who supported his Office in conducting the investigation, and he praised Representative Morris for her commitment to public service and Bennington County in the face of reprehensible racial harassment.
The Attorney General also announced a new statewide “Bias Incident Reporting System.” The new Reporting System encourages law enforcement and prosecutors to share reports of bias incidents with the Civil Rights Unit of the Attorney General’s Office for potential civil investigation and remedy. The Attorney General praised the Vermont Department of State’s Attorneys and Sheriffs, the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council, and Vermont’s law enforcement community as well as leaders from numerous organizations from across the state for their input and support for the Reporting System. “The support for the launch of this Reporting System is a testament to our collective commitment to identifying and addressing bias incidents in our communities and to ensuring victims have knowledge of and access to civil remedies,” Attorney General Donovan said.
Attorney General Donovan also announced that over the coming months his Office will host a series of community forums to engage communities on ways to identify, prevent, and better respond to hate crimes and bias incidents. The Attorney General’s Office will announce the location and dates of these forums later this month.
Last modified: January 14, 2019