File a Civil Rights Complaint or Hate Crime Report

Cambridge Police

If you believe a company, business, organization has violated your rights, you can file a civil rights complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General's Office. If you believe you, your business or organization has been the victim of a hate crime in Cambridge, please contact the Cambridge Police Department. The Cambridge Police will fully investigate, document and respond to all allegations of bias or hate-motivated crime. 

How to Start

If you believe a company, business, organization has violated your rights, you can file a civil rights complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General's Office.

  • File a civil rights complaint online
  • Enter your information on the complaint form. When completed, check the box to certify your statement and enter your full name. Then hit "Submit."
  • You can also contact the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General's Office by phone at (617) 963-2917.

If you believe you, your business or organization has been the victim of a hate crime (what is a hate crime?) in Cambridge, please contact the Cambridge Police Department.

  • Please file a report or contact the Cambridge Police by phone at (617) 349-3300 for a non-emergency and 911 for any emergency.

Hate Crimes vs. Civil Cases

Hate Crimes

Hate crimes are crimes that are motivated by the offender’s bias toward the victim because the victim is a member of a protected group.

Under the primary Massachusetts hate crime statute, there are three elements of hate crimes:

  • Underlying criminal offense: The offender committed an assault or a battery upon the victim or damaged the victim’s property.
  • Offender’s intent: The offender acted with the intent to intimidate the victim.
  • Victim’s protected characteristic: The offender targeted the victim because of the victim’s race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other protected characteristic.

Perpetrators of hate crimes are typically brought under criminal prosecution and, in some cases, can also be prosecuted civilly.

Other bias-motivated conduct

The Attorney General’s Office brings civil cases against violations of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act that have three basic elements:

  • Underlying conduct: The perpetrator engaged in threats, intimidation, or coercion.
  • Interference with civil rights: The perpetrator interfered, or attempt to interfere, with the victim’s civil rights.
  • Bias motivation: The perpetrator’s conduct was motivated by bias against the victim because of the victim’s membership in a protected group or activity.

Hateful and offensive speech or symbols alone do not necessarily violate the law. Rather, the law prohibits certain kinds of physical or verbal conduct, such as threats, intimidation, or coercion.

The Attorney General’s Office may obtain an injunction, compensation for the victim, and in some cases, civil penalties, against a perpetrator who threatens, intimidates, or coerces another person on the basis of that person’s membership in a protected group (e.g., race, national origin, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability) or protected activity (e.g., exercising the right to vote or the right to associate).

Additional Information

The Cambridge Police Department has produced a five-year overview of hate crimes reported to the Department between 2016-2020. There were 15 hate crimes reported in Cambridge in 2020, involving 17 types of bias. This total is 17% below the 18 hate crimes reported in 2019 and 7% (one incident) above the 10-year average of 14. Race, sexual orientation, and religion, in that order, were the most prevalent bias types in Cambridge in 2020. Read More
Page was posted on 7/28/2021 4:29 PM
Page was last modified on 8/2/2021 11:02 AM
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