Richmond, TX – District Attorney
Brian M. Middleton issued a proclamation earlier this month condemning hate
incidents and hate crimes in Fort Bend County. Middleton hosted a symposium on hate
crimes yesterday afternoon, May 28, 2020, which was organized by the Fort Bend
County District Attorney’s Citizen Engagement Committee.
The Citizen Engagement Committee
was created by Middleton and is facilitated by the United States Department of
Justice, Community Relations Service. The Citizen Engagement Committee includes
Farha Ahmed, Chairwoman, Ian Scharfman, Vice-Chairman, Ross Torres, Secretary,
and board members Michael Milstead, Amina Ishaq, Stephen Brown,
Ashish Agrawal, Jay Patel, and Monica Riley.
The purpose of the symposium was
to address current events that are racially charged: prejudice towards
Asian-Americans due to the corona virus being mischaracterized as the “Chinese
virus,” and the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police
Panelists included (1) Senior
Associate Director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Southwest Regional Office Dena
Marks, (2) Past-President OCA - Asian Pacific American Advocates Greater Houston Cecil Fong, (3) Deputy Criminal
Chief Assistant United States Attorney Sharad Khandelwal, and (4) Harris County
Special Crimes Bureau Chief Ruben Perez who were invited to answer questions
the public had raised as pressing concerns.
The symposium addressed the
application of federal and state laws, the role of the panelists’
organizations, examples of misconduct based in prejudice, and resources available
where the public can learn more.
During the symposium, Middleton
denounced the hate crimes directed at Asian Americans and the actions of
Minneapolis Officer Chauvin which led to the death of Houston native George
Floyd. Middleton asked viewers to look in the mirror to find the identity of
America, appreciate our similarities, and remain true to the tenets upon which
our country was founded.
Middleton stated, “I want to
thank our esteemed panelists for sharing their time and wisdom with our
audience, as part of my promise to utilize best practices to ensure that
justice is achieved in our criminal justice system. The symposium allowed for
the free flow of ideas, concerns, and expectations of the public.”
“I am committed to keeping Fort
Bend County safe,” continued Middleton. “We are better together because our
similarities outweigh our differences, and we are all humans deserving of fair
and equal treatment.”
The District Attorney’s Citizen
Engagement Committee was formed to more easily connect the District Attorney’s
Office to the public and includes representatives from both the office and the
symposium can be viewed in its entirety along with invaluable comments at https://www.facebook.com/fortbendcountyda/videos/3445758795648718/.