LeFavour, Quintana meet with U.S. Attorney regarding Hate Crimes in Idaho

Two of Idaho’s most public LGBTQIA advocates met with U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson yesterday to discuss what can be done about not only a recent rash of  alleged unreported crimes but any future hate crimes in Idaho as well.

Idaho State Senator Nicole LeFavour (D-Boise) and a.l.p.h.a. (Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS) founder and director Duane Quintana were invited by Olson’s office  to discuss the issue after recent media reports regarding the problem. Olson explained to the pair that in order for the federal “Matthew Shepard and and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” to kick in the crime would have to affect interstate commerce in some way.

Under the 2010 law, in order to be federally prosecuted a hate crime has to “impede the movement of members of targeted groups and force them to move across state lines to escape the incidence or risk or prevent victims from purchasing goods and services or cross state lines in some way or be committed on an interstate highway.”

So far no hate crimes have been prosecuted in Idaho under the act. Still, Quintana calls the meeting a productive one.”We spent most of the meeting talking about efforts to bring the stake holders together to help prevent future crimes in Idaho.” says Quintana.

Those efforts will include a training for law enforcement next month that will include LGBTQIA sensitivity training to help officers better communicate with an LGBTQIA victim.

Quintana says there will also be an upcoming training for the LGBTQIA community as well. “We just need the parties to come together and better understand how and when to report a hate crime.”

LeFavour, Quintana and others will also be meeting with Boise’s Chief of Police as well as participating in an upcoming multi-agency conference call on hate crimes in Idaho and Washington.

Quintana, who founded Boise Loves, a facebook page to help bring the LGBTQIA community together to combat hate crime in the Treasure Valley area, says he hopes as many people as possible get involved. “It’s going to take all of us educating ourselves, watching each others backs and working with law enforcement to solve this problem.”

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