Delaware Department of Justice Issues Guidelines to Law Enforcement and Schools Regarding Handling of Threats and Intimidation

In light of incidents reported around the country involving threats and intimidation against individuals based on their national origin, religion, and other personal characteristics, Attorney General Matt Denn sent guidelines to state law enforcement and education officials earlier this week describing proper use of the state’s statutes and regulations to address such incidents in Delaware. The guidelines specifically address the scope of Delaware’s terroristic threatening, disorderly conduct, and hate crime statutes, and school bullying laws and regulations (including cyberbullying).

The guidelines were issued by the Delaware Department of Justice following national media reports of an uptick in bias-related activity in the past week, and a formal FBI report issued Monday that documented a significant increase in hate crimes nationally during the 2015 calendar year, in particular crimes directed against Muslims and transgender persons.

“Threats and intimidation against our neighbors based on who they are will not be accepted here in Delaware,” Attorney General Denn said. “There are First Amendment issues that arise when law enforcement or school officials apply laws relating to speech, so these guidelines explain to law enforcement and school officials how they can apply the law consistently with those First Amendment considerations.”

Denn said that any Delawareans who believed that they were victims of threats or intimidation based on their personal characteristics and were not receiving an appropriate response from law enforcement or school authorities could contact the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust at 302-577-5400.

Read the Law Enforcement Guidelines

Read the School Guidelines