Alleged Hate Crime Investigation On-going, Completion Expected in Coming Weeks

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In response to Governor Charles W. Turnbull’s letter to U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales concerning the possible hate crimes in the Virgin Islands, the Assistant Director of Gonzales’ Criminal Investigative Division, Chris Swecker, recently updated Gov. Turnbull on the status of investigations into possible hate crimes in the territory.

Expected To Be Completed in 2 to 3 Weeks
“Additional investigation into this matter is still ongoing and is expected to be completed within the next two to three weeks,” Swecker wrote Gov. Turnbull. “These investigative results will then be forwarded to and discussed with the Department of Justice-Civil Rights Division (DOJ-CRD) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Virgin Islands (USAO-VI).”

“At that point, the DOJ-CRD will determine whether further investigation is warranted and/or whether there is sufficient evidence of a prosecutable violation of the federal hate crimes or other civil rights statutes,”. Swecker wrote.

“I want to assure you that this investigation is a high priority, and I have been personally briefed on this matter on several occasions by the Special Agent in Charge of our San Juan Division, Luis S. Fraticelli,” Swecker added. “To date, the FBI has conducted a thorough investigation of this matter, with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the National Park Service (NPS) and the Virgin Islands Police Department (VIPD).”

Numerous Interviews Conducted
“To date, the investigators have conducted numerous interviews and forensic examinations and identified the need for further investigative steps to conclude this investigation,” the federal official added.

“The FBI has provided the DOJCRD ongoing briefings on the status and results of the investigation, as well as kept the USAO-VI advised of the progress of this investigation,” Swecker wrote.

“(On) October 28, 2005, all available, relevant reports on this matter from the FBL ATF, NPS and VIPD regarding any potential hate crimes were forwarded by the FBI to the DOJ-CRD and USAO-VI for their review,”

Concerns for Constitutional Rights
“I understand and appreciate your concerns regarding this matter, and I want to thank you for the opportunity to advise you of the status of our efforts in investigating this matter,” Swecker continued.

“I regret that I am unable to provide you with any further details of this ongoing investigation at this time, due to concerns for the constitutional rights of all the parties involved and for the integrity of our investigation,” Swecker concluded.