First felony hate crime conviction for Delaware Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust

Delaware Department of Justice (State of Del.)

Delaware Department of Justice (State of Del.)

A New Castle County jury has convicted a man accused of hate crimes for terroristic threats against a Black woman who works on Gov. John Carney’s staff. The felony conviction marks the first time the Delaware Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust has secured a conviction for a hate crime.

“It’s a disturbing fact that hate is alive and well in 2022, and I’m grateful to the jury, the victim, and our prosecutors for fighting back,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings.

Matthew Gregg, a 26-year-old white man from Hockessin, had been accused of verbally harassing Carney’s staffer with repeated racist and sexist attacks. He faces up to four years in prison when sentenced.

“State employees engage with the public every day; that engagement matters, and our communities are stronger because of it. But we will not tolerate threats of any kind, least of all those colored by hate and ignorance,” Jennings said.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

“My thoughts are with the victim, who endured this invective for no reason except that she is a woman of color who chose public service. I’m grateful for her courage and for her willingness to testify at trial, and I’m grateful to the jury for hearing her voice and reaching a just verdict.”

Department of Justice officials say the verdict is definitely a first for the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust and may be the first hate crime conviction at trial for the department as a whole.

Though it’s not clear why the hate crime statute has not been used to reach a conviction before now, a Department of Justice spokesperson said there has been a growing focus on enforcing hate crimes around the country. The spokesperson said the Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust is working deliberately to improve communications with those in the community and law enforcement to ensure hate crimes are being charged appropriately.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Saturdays just got more interesting.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal