The FBI is the only federal entity with responsibility for investigating
allegations of federal civil rights violations and abuses.
In pursuit of this mission, the FBI investigates violence
and hate crimes by individuals and/or members of racist
groups, such as the Ku Klux Klan. The FBI also investigates
allegations of misconduct on the part of law enforcement
officers, including physical abuse, infliction of summary
punishment, and deprivation of rights through fabrication
of evidence. The Bureau works with state and municipal
law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and special interest/minority
groups to improve reporting of civil rights violations
and to design proactive strategies for identifying and
mitigating systemic police brutality.
Other areas of emphasis are as follows: 1) enforcing the Freedom of Access to
Clinic Entrances Act, which bars conduct that would obstruct access to reproductive
health facilities; 2) investigating discrimination in housing; 3) enforcing the
Equal Credit Opportunity Act; and 4) non-organized crime-related exploitation
(involuntary servitude) of women and children.
CIVIL RIGHTS CASE: JAMES CHARLES KOPP
On October 23, 1998, Dr. Barnett Slepian was fatally wounded by a single
gunshot fired into his residence by an unknown sniper. Dr. Slepian ran a
medical clinic that provided abortions and other women's health services.
The shooting was similar to shootings in Rochester, New York, and three Canadian
the fall of 1997, in which abortion doctors were shot in their homes. The
field office in Buffalo, along with the Amherst Police Department and the
New York State Police, immediately started an investigation into the shooting.
James Kopp was charged in a federal complaint and subsequent indictment
with violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, Unlawful
Avoid Prosecution, and firearms charges. On June 7, 1999, he was added
to the FBI's "Ten
Most Wanted Fugitives" list. In the course of an extensive fugitive investigation,
the FBI used Title IIIs, substantial surveillance, and helpful witnesses,
and worked closely with a variety of other domestic and international law
agencies. These efforts led investigators to France, where Kopp was arrested.
On June 5, 2002, Kopp was taken into custody at Le Bourget Airport in Paris,
France, by FBI Agents from the Buffalo Office and transported back to the United
States. Kopp was convicted of second-degree murder on March 18, 2003, and is
awaiting trial on a federal charge of interfering with the right to an abortion.
CIVIL RIGHTS: INVOLUNTARY SERVITIUDE AND SLAVERY
On February 28, 2001, the FBI Field Office in Honolulu began investigating
the Daewoosa Company, which operated a garment factory on American Samoa
approximately 250 laborers from Vietnam. The investigation revealed that
upon arrival in American Samoa, victims' passports were confiscated by company
employees, and they were forced to work to pay off smuggling fees of approximately
Daewoosa employees used threats, intimidation, and physical force to maintain
control over the victims. Some female employees were sexually assaulted and
forced to work as prostitutes, and those who became pregnant were either
forced to have
abortions or forced to return to Vietnam.
On March 23, 2001, Kil Soo Lee was arrested in American Samoa by the FBI
Honolulu Field Office on charges of Involuntary Servitude and Forced Labor.
have entered guilty pleas to date, and the trial of Kil Soo Lee is expected
in October 2002. FBI Honolulu is conducting a parallel investigation involving
white-collar crime aspects of the investigation with the assistance of the
US Attorney's Office.
CIVIL RIGHTS: RACIAL DISCRIMINATION/ARSON
In January 2001, the Mantiwoc Police Department in Wisconsin asked the FBI's
Milwaukee Field Office to assist in investigating a hate-related arson case.
Their joint investigation uncovered a helpful witness who identified several
individuals responsible for the arson. The investigation also determined that
gasoline was used as an accelerant and that the fire was set at the only usable
door of the home. Eight family members narrowly escaped through a window, but
the residence was completely destroyed. According to the source, Andrew Franz
had said that he started the fire to "get rid of the Asians living there."
The investigation resulted in the identification and successful prosecution of
seven individuals. All were either convicted or pled guilty to federal civil
rights and arson charges and were all sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Andrew
Franz received 20 years in prison.