The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which describes itself as the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization in America, released a statement Friday welcoming a hate crime charge for the alleged harassment of staff members at Migrant Justice, an immigrant rights group that advocates for farmworkers.
Vermont State Police, in a news release, said Chase Atkins, 24, of Addison, will appear in Middlebury criminal court Nov. 18 to be charged with disturbing the peace by phone. The charge has been enhanced because police believe it was a hate crime.
Last month, CAIR called for a hate crime probe of harassment targeting migrant workers.
CAIR National Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen said the group supported the efforts of law-enforcement officers responding to a message Atkins allegedly left on voice mail at Migrant Justice that police said “would have left a reasonable person to feel threatened and intimidated.”
“We welcome the hate crime charges in this case and urge law enforcement authorities in Vermont and nationwide to take similar actions in response to any bias-motivated or anti-immigrant attacks,” Ajeen wrote in his statement.
Ajeen added CAIR has “reported an unprecedented spike in bigotry targeting American Muslims, immigrants and members of other minority groups since the election of Donald Trump as president.”
The charge of disturbing the peace by phone is punishable by up to three months in jail, but because of the hate crime enhancement, Atkins could be sentenced to up to two years in jail.