Saturday, July 15, 2017

Attorney General Sessions Speaks At Hate Crimes Summit

On June 29, Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered remarks (full text) at the Civil Rights Division's Hate Crimes Summit.  Sessions focused on recent hate crime arrests and convictions, saying in part:
The Department has prosecuted a number of high-profile hate crimes cases this year as we seek to bring criminals to justice.
In March ... a suspect was found and arrested in Israel for allegedly making threatening phone calls to Jewish community centers, inflicting terror across the nation.  In April, we brought federal charges against him, and our investigation into these acts as possible hate crimes continues....
Just last week, we sought and a federal grand jury returned an indictment against a man in Texas for burglary and arson of the Victoria Islamic Center.   He now faces up to 40 years in federal prison.   Earlier this month, a man in Tennessee was sentenced to over 19 years in prison for trying to recruit people to help him burn down a mosque in a small town in New York.   Also this month, the Department indicted a man from Kansas for shooting three men at a bar because he thought they were of Persian origin.... 
We have and will continue to enforce hate crime laws aggressively and appropriately where transgendered individuals are victims.  Last month, Joshua Brandon Vallum was sentenced to 49 years in prison for assaulting and murdering Mercedes Williamson.   This is the first case prosecuted under the Hate Crimes Prevention Act involving the murder of a transgender person.
I personally met with the Department’s senior leadership and the Civil Rights Division to discuss a spate of murders around the country of transgender individuals.   I have directed the Civil Rights Division to work with the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify ways the Department can support the state and local law enforcement authorities investigating these incidents and to determine whether federal action would be appropriate.