State officials are hoping a new hotline will help them combat instances of harassment and intimidation based on race, gender or sexual orientation in the wake of last week’s presidential election.
Attorney General Maura Healey’s office launched the hotline Monday in response to a growing number of reports of hate crimes and intimidation across the country.
“There are reports from around the country following the election that people have been targeted and subjected to conduct that imperils safety and civil rights," Healey said in a news release. "Today, I am establishing a hotline for residents to report bias-motivated threats, harassment, and violence. Such conduct has no place in Massachusetts.”
In Natick, police reported on Monday that a resident was receiving racially-charged threatening letters. In another incident, an MBTA train was taken out of service temporarily after someone scrawled graffitithat read “Stop being racist against white people,” across the top of the train.
The day after the election two Babson College students were expelled from their fraternity after they drove through Wellesley’s campus waving “Trump” sign and antagonizing students. That same day in Cambridge a USPS worker in allegedly told a man of Hispanic descent to go back to his countrybecause “this is Trump land.”
Healey urged any Massachusetts resident who has witnessed or experienced bias-motivated threats, harassment or violence may call the Attorney General’s Hotline at 1-800-994-3228,fill out a civil rights complaint on the state’s website or reach out to them through Twitter or Facebook.
Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, who is also the president of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs, said potential hate crimes, including bias-motivated assault, battery, and property damage, should also be reported to the local police. Residents who fear for their immediate safety should call 911.
“The Police Departments across the Commonwealth are committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of all individuals including racial, ethnic, religious, and LGBTQ groups are not violated by any form of harassment and/or intimidation contrary to the law and stand ready to investigate any allegations of wrongdoing and take the appropriate enforcement action,” Kyes said.