New Mexico may form hate-crimes unit after Texas massacre
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico’s top prosecutor wants to create a special investigative unit to guard against hate crimes and bolster cybersecurity in response to the August mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and other emergent threats.
Attorney General Hector Balderas on Tuesday asked the Legislature to provide funding for five new employees as a precaution against potential attacks on public schools, retail stores and other vulnerable public venues.
Police say a gunman was targeting Mexicans as he opened fire on Aug. 3 at a retail store within 10 miles (15 kilometers) of New Mexico, killing 22 people. More than 40% of New Mexico residents claim Latino heritage.
Officials including Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham have expressed support for possible new criminal statutes related to domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
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