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Vermont Attorney General Announces New Reporting System After Threats Against Black Legislator

The Vermont attorney general's office is announcing a new statewide system for reporting bias after finding a former state representative was racially harassed until she quit her job last year.

Attorney General T.J. Donovan said the new reporting system will push prosecutors and law enforcement to share reports of bias incidents with the state attorney general's civil rights unit, including documenting speech that or expressive conduct that is constitutionally protected, but still involves bias.

He also announced that despite finding that former state Rep. Kiah Morris was a target of racial harassment, no one will be prosecuted for it.

Morris became Vermont's first black female legislator in 2014. But racist threats and harassment followed until she quit last year.

She says she and her family have endured a home invasion, vandalism and saw swastikas painted on trees nearby. A group of youths also pounded on her windows and doors at night, forcing her and her husband, convalescing after heart surgery, to leave town.

Morris said she was dissatisfied with the response by Bennington police. The police chief has defended his department.

The attorney general announced in September that his office would take over the investigation.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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