From left, Bush, Sayoc, Bowers.
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen asked for an emergency hearing on hate crimes and domestic terrorism in the wake ”of recent killings by individuals with white supremacist views.”
Cohen joined Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX) in a letter to House Judiciary Committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to request the hearing.
In their letter
, they cite three incidents for the need of a hearing:
• On Wednesday, Gregory Bush attempted to enter a predominantly black church in Jeffersontown, Ky. When he failed, he entered a nearby supermarket and killed two African American individuals. He is reported to have told a bystander: “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.” He is also reported to have a long history of domestic violence charges and to have been previously barred from possessing a firearm under federal law.
• On Friday, federal prosecutors charged Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr. with sending explosive devices to at least a dozen public figures who have often been singled out by President [Donald] Trump. Savoc identified himself to coworkers as a white supremacist who “dislikes gays, African-Americans, Jews, and anybody who isn’t white.”
• On Saturday, Robert Bowers shot and killed 11 people gathered to worship at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He made his motive clear to the SWAT team that captured him: “I just want to kill Jews.
“In the past week, our nation has borne witness to three acts of terror,” reads the letter to Goodlatte. “This groundswell of violence includes both the largest attempted mass assassination of prominent political figures in American history and the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in American history.
“Each of these acts was carried out by an individual understood to espouse white supremacist views…Whether it manifests itself as racism or anti-Semitism or xenophobia, white supremacy is white supremacy. In its modern form, it motivates a fluid and particularly virulent form of domestic terrorism. It must be stopped.”
The three lawmakers say Goodlatte did not respond to a similar request for such a hearing after last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.