WASHINGTON (JTA) — FBI Director James Comey called for improvements in how law enforcement reports hate crimes in a speech to the Anti-Defamation League on Monday.
“We must do a better job of tracking and reporting hate crime to fully understand what is happening in our country so we can stop it,” he told the group’s annual Washington, D.C., conference. “Some jurisdictions do not report hate crime data.”
Comey’s endorsement is a boost for the ADL, which has long sought uniform standards for hate crimes data across the United States and Europe as a means of tracking spikes and decreases in bias-related crimes.
However, Comey cautioned against limiting hate speech.
“You don’t have to like it,” he said of hate speech, “but we have to protect it,” he said to applause.
Comey noted, as he has in the past, that the FBI requires its agents to tour the Holocaust museum, emphasizing how evil can be perpetuated by those who believe they are doing good. Nazis, he said, were “joined and followed by people who loved their families, who took soup to sick neighbors — good people.”
He called the Holocaust “the most significant event in human history.”