WXXI AM News

hate crime

Nationally renowned civil rights expert Eric Ward has spent years studying hate violence and its relationship to preserving democratic institutions. His work examines white nationalism, anti-Semitism, and police-community relations. Ward will be the keynote speaker for Jewish Federation's upcoming Summit to End Hate.

This hour, we preview that event and talk with Ward and his fellow panelists about the recent events in Rochester and how communities can work to eliminate structural inequality. Our guests:

  • Eric Ward, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, and executive director of the Western States Center
  • Kevin Beckford, director of staff diversity, equity, and inclusion at the University of Rochester, and co-chair of the steering committee for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester's Levine Center to End Hate
  • Taj Smith, director of diversity education at RIT, and member of the steering committee for the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester's Levine Center to End Hate
  • Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester
  • Karen Elam, director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester's Levine Center to End Hate

Rochester Police have made an arrest in connection with a recent hate crime investigation.

On Monday, police said that they have charged 24-year-old Rashad Turner of the city with second-degree assault as a hate crime.

The incident happened on July 31 in the 100 block of Denver Street. City officers meet with the victim, a 30-year-old transgender man, who told police he was harassed based upon his sexual orientation and that at least one suspect punched him twice, leaving him unconious.

Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the New York state police hate crimes task force on Wednesday to investigate an assault against a transgender man in Rochester.

Cuomo said that he is outraged by reports that a 30-year-old Black trans man was attacked last Friday. The victim sustained a broken eye socket and multiple fractures to his cheekbone according to the Democrat and Chronicle.

WXXI photo

 Organizers with the group Save Rochester - Black Lives Matter and Black Families Matter are holding a unity rally on Friday at Denver Street in Rochester, the same area where two people were assaulted last week.

On July 31st, two suspects engaged in a "verbal altercation" over one of the victims' sexual orientation before the assault, said the Rochester Police Department. One of the victims, 30, was taken to the hospital for injuries.

Data shows anti-Semitic incidents and hate crimes are rising across the country. Why? The news has left community members wondering how to address and counter these issues, both in conversation and in legal terms.

This hour, we discuss hate crimes and hate speech from a number of angles. In studio:

“Why do we hate?” It’s a question we explore with two men whose paths have crossed after coming from very different perspectives. Pardeep Kaleka lost his father in 2012, when a white supremacist opened fire on a Sikh temple. Arno Michaelis helped form the gang that produced the mass shooter – that gang was the largest racist skinhead organization in the world. Now, Michaelis speaks out against racism and has written a book called “My Life After Hate.” He and Kaleka met for the first time in 2013, and since then, they’ve formed an educational organization and written a book, “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate.”

They’ll be in Rochester later this month as guests of the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester’s Levine Center to End Hate, but first, they share their stories and their message on Connections. Our guests:

  • Pardeep Kaleka, co-author of “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate”
  • Arno Michaelis, co-author of “The Gift of Our Wounds: A Sikh and Former White Supremacist Find Forgiveness After Hate”
  • Karen Elam, director of the Levine Center to End Hate at the Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester

Geneva Police

Police in Geneva said their investigation of two incidents of racist graffiti has led them to a 12-year-old suspect.

A swastika and the words "white power" were spray-painted on a storage shed, and two swastikas were spray-painted on the outside of a church.

A search warrant was issued for the suspect's home Thursday night. Police said they found enough evidence there to support the filing of a hate crime. They said the 12-year-old is the only person involved in the crimes.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, is being treated as a juvenile defendant.