Contact: Jennifer Putney
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 08, 2021
Macomb County Prosecutor Budget Seeks Hate Crimes Unit Prosecutor
Mount Clemens, Michigan — Macomb County Prosecutor Peter J. Lucido’s pending 2022 budget request seeks funding for a Hate Crimes Unit prosecutor.
The Hate Crimes Unit will work with law enforcement to prosecute hate crimes such as Ethnic Intimidation, but will also pursue separate assaultive and property damage crimes related to such incidents where the ethnic intimidation element is not met. In Michigan, a person may be guilty of a felony for ethnic intimidation if that person maliciously, and with specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person's race, color, religion, gender, or national origin, causes physical contact with another person, damages, destroys, or defaces any real or personal property of another person, or threatens, by word or act, to do so, if there is reasonable cause to believe that such an act will occur. The Chief of the Hate Crimes Unit must be highly qualified and skilled in holding those accountable who commit hate crimes.
“Macomb County needs more resources to prosecute hate crimes,” said Lucido.
According to FBI statistics reported by the Detroit Free press, Michigan had the sixth highest number of hate incidents among all 50 states in 2018. The Southern Poverty Law Project tracks 25 hate groups in Michigan. Hate crimes are monitored by the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI, Antidefamation League, Southern Poverty Law Center, NAACP, the Sikh Coalition, ProPublica and others. Lucido reminds everyone that hate crimes may be reported to local law enforcement, and to call 911 in an emergency.
Most recently, the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office prosecuted a 25-year-old man out of Warren for terrorizing his neighbors after they placed a Black Lives Matter sign in their yard. His heinous actions included shooting the home, slashing tires on a vehicle, and writing racist graffiti on a pickup truck. The defendant pleaded no contest in July 2021 to ethnic intimidation, discharging a firearm at a building, using a firearm during a felony, and malicious destruction of property. He was ultimately sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Lucido’s 2022 budget request emphasizes integrity and putting lawyers in courtrooms. Lucido’s budget request is pending review by the County Executive and submission to the County Commission. In August, Lucido participated in meetings with the Macomb County Finance Department, the Office of County Executive, and several Macomb County Commissioners to discuss the current status of the Prosecutor’s Office and future financial needs. Prosecutor Lucido stressed that public safety must be the county’s first priority.
Lucido has consistently argued that the Prosecutor’s Office is woefully underfunded. Macomb County is currently lagging behind Oakland County and the Michigan Attorney General’s Office in terms of Hate Crimes prosecution. Lucido’s pending budget request seeks to add additional overall funding for 9 full-time Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys, 4 part-time Assistant Prosecuting Attorneys, 6 full time Administrative Staff, and 5 part-time administrative.
Lucido’s budget request seeks to adequately staff and train newly created units including a: Conviction Integrity Unit, Hate Crimes Unit, Human Trafficking Unit, Major Crimes Unit, and an Environmental Unit.
Lucido is also working with the Macomb County IT Department on a pending request for two major technology projects: a digital evidence management system and a case management system. Lucido said these systems are needed for many reasons, including due to a large increase in video evidence from police body cameras, store and homeowner video security systems, and mobile phone videos.