March 8, 2019
LANSING – Attorney General Dana Nessel has officially launched her new Hate Crimes Unit within the Criminal Division of the Department of Attorney General that is charged with investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Assistant Attorney General Sunita Doddamani has been tasked as lead prosecutor in the unit and Special Agent David Dwyre has been named lead investigator.
“Hate itself is not a crime and our civil liberties protect the right to speak about even the most terrible of things,” said Nessel. But when a criminal offense is committed against a person or property and it is motivated by an offender’s bias against a particular group, then my Office will act. To do that we intend to work with both federal and local authorities to ensure these crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible under the law.”
Attorney General Nessel is encouraging members of the public and other law enforcement agencies to contact the Hate Crimes Unit if they have knowledge of, or are a victim of, a crime motivated by hate. The Department of Attorney General will follow up on every credible tip, will launch independent investigations when sufficient cause exists, and will offer departmental resources to assist our local and federal law enforcement partners.
“Hate crimes are not just an attack on a specific individual but a message to an entire group,” Nessel added. “That’s why they’re so damaging to communities and why we need to partner with our local authorities if we hope to eradicate them. I’m happy to have the opportunity as Attorney General to put a spotlight on this important issue.”
Doddamani, who heads the unit, is a career prosecutor and first-generation American with more than 15 years of experience prosecuting violent felonies and hate crime. She is a Wayne State University Law School graduate and has tried more than 150 felony cases in her career.
If you are a victim of a hate crime or have credible information about a hate crime, please contact the Department of Attorney General at 313-456-0180.