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Facts and Figures 2003

Civil Rights

Picture of Ku Klux Klan membersThe 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.


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 well-known medical clinic that provided abortions and other women's health services. The shooting was similar to shootings in Rochester, New York, and three Canadian cities during the fall of 1997, in which abortion doctors were shot in their homes. The FBI 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 Flight to 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 enforcement 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.


On February 28, 2001, the FBI Field Office in Honolulu began investigating the Daewoosa Company, which operated a garment factory on American Samoa and employed 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 $7,000. 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. Three subjects 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 the white-collar crime aspects of the investigation with the assistance of the US Attorney's Office.


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.



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