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Mayor meets with California Attorney General to discuss hate crimes

Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson met with California Attorney General Rob Bonta, along with other local leaders, on Oct. 19 for a roundtable discussion and press conference on hate crime in California.

The visit was Bonta’s second visit to Riverside within the week and fifth stop in his tour of the 13 most populated cities in the state. 

“In California and throughout this nation, there’s no room for hate. Not here, not anywhere, not now, not ever, and we need to take steps and take action to make that real,” Bonta said.

According to Bonta, state data showed a 107 percent increase in Asian Pacific Islander (API) hate crimes in 2020 and a 30 percent overall increase in California. 

Bonta added, “We are working with our local law enforcement partners throughout the State of California to help ensure that they are using best practices and have the support in recourses to identify and investigate hate crimes.”

According to the data, Riverside had at least 14 known cases in 2020.

Lock Dawson said that even though such hate incidents are not common in Riverside, the city is not immune and that the statewide reality should not be ignored here at home. 

“So Riverside needs to play its part in addressing this statewide increase by being a resource to other cities and our state partners,” she said.

Other participants in the event included Malek Bendelhoum, the Executive Director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, Cal State San Bernardino Professor Steven Merrell and Riverside Police Chief Larry Gonzalez.