Local officials vow to vigorously prosecute hate crimes

LA City Attorney stood before the cameras Wednesday and said, "Acts of hate against any individual because of their race or their ethnicity or their religion or their sexual orientation or if they have a disability, based on their gender, those acts are un-American."

And they're illegal. City Attorney Feuer said hate crimes are up in Los Angeles. At the same podium, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said hate crimes "committed against anyone in our community will be met by a strong response."

The Southern Poverty Law Center said California leads the country right now in such incidents. They've recorded more than 700 incidents of hate and intimidation nationwide since the election.

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, who was with Feuer and Lacey, told reporters, "Right now, we are a very divided country that we are all trying to bring together... I think it's just the consequence of a very difficult election."

Rabbi Marvin Heir at the Simon Wiesenthal Center said his researchers have been following an uptick in anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim rhetoric for a couple of years.

"Wherever you look it's not a good season in terms of hate and bigotry," Heir said.

He pointed to a recent video of people saluting President-elect Donald Trump as if he were Adolph Hitler. The rally near the Arlington National Cemetery angered him.

"Some 418,000 American servicemen, men and women, lost their lives to defeat the 'zig heilers' and to see the zig heilers were in the room at the Ronald Reagan building is just astonishing," he said. "It's sickening and it has to be handled."

Heir is the son of a Polish immigrant. Members of his dad's family were killed in the Holocaust. In many ways, it feels personal to see an increase in hate.

Heir applauded local officials for stepping up, and as a man whose shaken many a President's hand, hopes President-elect Trump will not allow hate, in any form, to spread.

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