Sifting Domestic Terrorism from Hate Crime and Homegrown Violent Extremism [August 14, 2017] [open pdf - 309KB]
"In light of the violence related to protests in Charlottesville, VA, on August 12, 2017, policymakers may be interested in how the concepts of domestic terrorism, hate crime, and homegrown violent extremism compare with one another. They are fairly distinct ideas that federal law enforcement agencies use to categorize key types of criminals whose illegal activities are at least partly ideologically motivated. Specifically, these terms may be part of public discussion regarding a widely reported incident involving James Alex Fields, who according to witnesses drove his car into a group of people protesting a rally featuring white supremacists in Charlottesville on August 12. Fields allegedly killed 1 person and injured 19 others. The Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the incident, presumably pursuing possible hate crime charges. Additionally, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has publicly stated that terrorism investigators are involved in investigating the incident, ostensibly exploring the possibility of characterizing it as an act of domestic terrorism rather than a hate crime."
CRS Insight, IN10299
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html