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Media News
for The New York Times: Manhattan U.S. Attorney Forms New Civil Rights Unit
josé a. alvarado jr.
Dec 15, 2021
Location: New York City
Citing a rise in hate attacks, Damian Williams, the new U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the creation of a civil rights unit in the office’s criminal division on Friday at a ceremony at the Harlem Armory, signaling a new focus for one of the country’s most powerful prosecutor’s offices.

“White supremacist groups are on the march,” said Mr. Williams, the first Black person to hold the post in the office’s 232-year history. “Antisemitism is on the march. Anti-Asian violence is on the march. Abuse of the most vulnerable in our society is on the march.”

Enforcement of civil rights violations in the office has largely been handled through civil lawsuits rather than criminal charges. But at a time when calls for a reconsideration of the way the justice system confronts issues of race and discrimination have grown louder, Mr. Williams said creating a civil rights unit within the office’s criminal division would elevate the work and “make us more effective.”

Photographed for The New York Times, with words by Karen Zraick and Benjamin Weiser.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Forms New Civil Rights Unit
Damian Williams, the first Black U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, noted a rise in anti-Asian and antisemitic crimes.


José A. Alvarado Jr. is a visual storyteller devoted to documenting cultural and social issues, as well as human interest stories in the US and Puerto Rico.
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