The website, called the Civil Rights Reporting Portal, consolidates 30 reporting pathways to make it easier and accessible for people to report violations such as unlawful discrimination, harassment, or abuse in any setting, the DOJ stated.
“The department is committed to upholding the civil and constitutional rights of all people in the United States,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a June 16 statement. “The Civil Rights Reporting Portal will make it easier for the public to connect with us, which, in turn, makes us more effective at upholding these important rights. I encourage the public to use this portal to report civil rights violations.”
According to the website, the most common civil rights violations involve discrimination or harassment due to characteristics such as race, disability, religion, sex and gender identity, immigration status, age, marital status, and national origin.
The website was created in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died during an arrest when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The DOJ and the FBI have opened an investigation to determine whether any federal civil rights laws were violated in that incident.
The DOJ announcement also comes against a backdrop of lawsuits and protests against local and state officials over CCP virus lockdown measures that appear to violate constitutional rights and civil liberties.
Attorney General William Barr has been vocal about the need to protect constitutional rights and civil liberties even during a public health crisis. He has previously said that while it’s important that state and local officials put in broad measures to mitigate the spread of the pandemic at the beginning, these measures should be rolled back when the flow of cases begins to ebb. He said officials should then look into more targeted approaches.
Barr also has issued a memorandum directing federal prosecutors to “be on the lookout” for state and local restrictions that could be running afoul of the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.
This year, the department has prosecuted and announced investigations for several types of civil rights violations, including an investigation into conditions of four Mississippi prisons and indictments against a man for allegedly threatening a synagogue. The department has also filed a number of Statements of Interest in several lawsuits against local and state officials that alleged lockdown measures have discriminated against individual rights.
Individuals who believe they have been the victim of a civil rights violation can make a report by visiting civilrights.justice.gov.