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Investigative Programs
Civil Rights

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the primary federal agency responsible for investigating all allegations regarding violations of applicable federal civil rights laws. These laws are designed to protect the civil rights of all citizens and persons within United States territory. The mission of the FBI's Civil Rights Program is to enforce federal civil rights statutes and to ensure that the protected civil rights of all inhabitants are not abridged.

The FBI's Civil Rights Program consists of the following sub-programs:

  • Hate Crimes
  • Color of Law/Police Misconduct
  • Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE)
  • Involuntary Servitude/Slavery

The above sub-programs are divided between two operational Units at FBI Headquarters: the Color of Law Unit which administers Color of Law/Police Misconduct investigations; and the Hate Crimes Unit which is responsible for the oversight and management of all investigations involving racial and/or religious discrimination, violations of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and involuntary servitude and slavery.

In addition to providing oversight to field investigations, the two Units also provide training to FBI New Agents, Field Agents, National Academy Attendees and other state/local police officers from around the country.

The FBI, pursuant to guidelines established in cooperation with the Department of Justice's (DOJ's) Civil Rights Division, requires each field office to initiate a civil rights investigation whenever information is received from any source not known to be unreliable. Though most complaints are received from the victim, witness or a third party related to the victim, a significant number of cases are initiated based on media reports, complaints from community interest groups, referrals from DOJ or the local United States Attorney's Office, and Congressional inquiries.

The FBI has the mission to investigate allegations of civil rights violations pursuant to federal statutes. Final prosecutive authority rests with DOJ's Civil Rights Division.

Hate Crime

Hate Crime Cases

Color of Law
Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances
Involuntary Servitude/Slavery
Federal Civil Rights Statutes
Civil Rights Home Page