ATLANTA – Civil rights leaders called Tuesday for a march on the Justice Department and an economic boycott next month because they believe the federal government has been sluggish in dealing with hate crimes.
They called for Americans not to spend any money Nov. 2 as an economic boycott of the federal government's handling of hate crimes. And they announced initial plans for a Nov. 16 march on Justice Department headquarters in Washington.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, Martin Luther King III and other activists at a news conference outside the federal courthouse in Atlanta cited the uproar in Jena, La., surrounding three white teens accused of hanging nooses outside a school and the six black teens charged in the beating of a white student. Five were initially charged with attempted murder, but that charge was reduced.
The civil rights leaders believe the federal government should prosecute the noose hanging as a hate crime. Louisiana authorities have said there is no state law under which they could prosecute the students suspected of hanging the nooses.
"The Justice Department is missing in action," King said.
A spokesman for the Justice Department, Erik Ablin, said in an e-mail message that federal, state and local officials are aggressively investigating numerous noose hanging reports around the country, as well as other incidents involving racial or religious threats.