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Newly-established civil rights office to address ongoing discrimination concerns in the Commonwealth

Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 18:30:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A newly-established civil rights office for Virginia's Attorney General is focusing on stopping discrimination.

"Now we are at a place and obviously technology has played a major role in it," Delegate Delores McQuinn (D - Richmond) said.

McQuinn is concerned about the alleged racial discrimination exposed from encounters with police. Across Virginia and the rest of the United States, video clips have surfaced of police interacting with civilians, leaving many communities frustrated.

McQuinn said that the current feelings of frustration provoked by these videos weren't as prevalent when her son was racially profiled and stopped by police years ago.

"What do you do if someone's got a gun and it's at your head for absolutely no reason at all," McQuinn said. "It traumatized him."

For McQuinn and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, discrimination is a significant concern. Amid disparities in housing, health care, and education inequalities, in addition to gender discrimination, the two say now it is more important than ever to establish an Office of Civil Rights.

"We've been fighting housing discrimination and employment discrimination and the General Assembly is giving us additional tools," Herring said. "We've now gotten authority to investigate repeated instances of unconstitutional policing and police departments. It's called pattern or practice authority."

"We are going to make certain that when these kinds of complaints come our way that there is a process and a method, a system set up so that these issues can be addressed," McQuinn said.

Herring is in agreement with McQuinn, saying that the goal is to fight all forms of discrimination head-on.

"No one deserves to be discriminated against because of who they are, what they look like, where they come from or whom they love," Herring said.

Herring said that anyone who believes they are a victim of discrimination should contact his office.