How the FBI investigates hate crimes

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MONROE COUNTY, Ind. — The video gaining national attention out of Monroe County, Indiana is now the subject of an FBI Hate Crime investigation.

The video shows black activist Vauhxx Booker being pinned against a tree by multiple white men near Monroe Lake on July 4th. 

“In the federal statute it is the use of or it is the threat of force. So if they used the word noose or lynching that would be a threat of force. And that would meet the elements for that particular violation,” said VP of Operations for Veracity IRR and Former FBI Special Agent, Kathy Guider. 

The statute she’s referring to is the Hate Crime Laws by the United States Department of Justice. According to the law, the force applied or used would have to be directed toward someone based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 

Guider says it’s still possible the case could be prosecuted on a local rather than federal level depending on the findings.

“If it doesn’t meet all of the elements for the federal hate crime, then they might say ok we do meet the elements for Indiana and it could be prosecuted at a state level,” said 

Guider says during this time the FBI is collecting everything they can conduct interviews and video recordings. 

“Once they have all of their interviews, they have all their evidence; they take that package to the United States Attorney’s Office. And then it’s in the United States Attorney’s hands of whether to file the charges at a federal level,” said Guider. 

Still, she says there is a responsibility of the Monroe County Prosecutors Office to file charges on a state and local level outside of what federal officials chose to do.

“You want the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), you want the FBI and the United States Attorneys Office, you want them to take their time, do a thorough investigation and come to their conclusions. You don’t want it rushed,” said Guider. 

At this time we are still waiting to hear more from the Monroe County Prosecutors Office, the Department of Natural Resources and the others involved.

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