The government has a couple of positions here as to punish the shooter, but also to send this broader message that the government will not stand for these kind of crimes.
And how you do that remains a question.
You know, what happens at these trials?
What happens with the punishments?
What happens with the broader message?
It's not completely clear what will necessarily, you know, drive that bigger point, which is to to stop hate.
And a lot of these tough questions are playing out publicly as the Justice Department tries to do right by the community in Buffalo.
The attorney general visited Buffalo about a month after the mass shooting.
He brought some of his top deputies, including from the Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, who oversees the entire civil litigating section, and Kristen Clarke, who does oversee civil rights.
Thank you, Associate Attorney General Gupta, Mr. Attorney General, and colleagues.
Today, I join my colleagues in grieving the innocent victims of this senseless crime and expressing my condolences to their families and the Buffalo community that has suffered through this traumatic event.
They were there to sort of offer reassurance to the folks on the ground, the survivors and the families of victims, as well as local officials that the Justice Department is doing a full investigation.
These acts of hate are a stain on our democracy and have no place in our society.
A bit of a surprise, though -- They did announce while they were there the federal charges against Payton Gendron, the alleged shooter, and there were significant charges, 26 hate-crime counts, but also a gun-related charge that does carry the death penalty.
And so Merrick Garland announced that he met with the families and survivors privately, and then he held a news conference where he detailed all of the above.
This is a death-penalty-eligible crime.
The Justice Department has a series of procedures it follows.
First, of course, there has to be an indictment.
After the indictment, then the regulatory procedures will be followed, and then the families and the survivors will be consulted.
And I know that you talked to some of the attorneys who were there in those meetings.
Can you introduce who you talked to?
Sure. There are several attorneys working with the families.
They range from Ben Crump, who has a national reputation as a civil-rights lawyer.
There are some local attorneys on the ground, including John Elmore.
Hello, can you hear me?
And his daughter Kristen Elmore Garcia.
They are also local attorneys, and they were in the meeting with Garland as well.
When Merrick Garland did come to Buffalo, when he emphasized that this is one of the Department of Justice's top priorities, he posed it in the sense that it has to be one of their top priorities because we can't allow our country to tolerate this kind of behavior, this kind of radicalization, this kind of mass casualty.