New Mexico AG seeks meeting with faith leaders over violence

December 31, 2019 GMT

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico’s top prosecutor wants to meet in the coming weeks with religious leaders from around the state to discuss hate-motivated violence.

Attorney General Hector Balderas made the request in a letter addressed Tuesday to faith leaders. It comes in the wake of a deadly church shooting in Texas and a bloody attack on a Hanukkah celebration in New York.

“This violence and hatred violates the very core ideals of freedom in this country, and it has no place in New Mexico,” he wrote. “I want to communicate to you my solemn promise to do everything in my power to stop those who would do such violence and to hold them accountable.”

The attorney general’s office has drafted anti-domestic terrorism and hate crime legislation for possible consideration during the upcoming 30-day session.

Balderas said by calling for a meeting, he wants to ensure New Mexico’s faith communities have a voice in the process and are heard on what he described as critical issues.

Under the proposed legislation, supporters say state laws would be amended to better define hate motivated crimes and increase resources for the attorney general’s office to investigate and prosecute hate crimes and domestic terrorism.