Helping Transgender case Sessions disobeys his standing on Civil Rights

LGBT advocates have long been skeptical of Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledge to prosecute acts of violence against transgender people

But Burlington police have declined to say whether they uncovered a motive for the murder and insisted there was no evidence to indicate the murder was a hate crime.

Keeping with an earlier promise-and surprising the LGBTQ community- Attorney General Jeff Sessions will carry out legal proceedings against people who target transgender Americans.

Jeff Sessions is reportedly behind the Justice Department's decision to send an experienced federal hate crimes lawyer to help in the case of a gender fluid high school student who was murdered in 2016.

Sanders-Galvez, 22, was charged with first-degree murder in the March 2016 shooting death of 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson.

If the Justice Department decides to let the case continue as it began under Iowa law the two men charged would face a maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted. Johnson, according to friends and family, self-identified as gay, as well as both male and female, occasionally using the name Kandicee.

Sessions "personally initiated" the sending of Christopher Perras to assist in the Burlington, Iowa, murder case, the New York Times reported.

It was sparked by a letter six House members sent Sessions last spring asking him to investigate several killings of transgender black women across the country. He publicly supported a case brought in the final weeks of the Obama administration in which a MS man was sentenced to 49 years in prison for killing a transgender woman, the first USA federal prosecution of a hate crime based on gender identity.

Devin O'Malley, a spokesman for the department said that this was an example of Session's commitment to "enforcing the laws enacted by Congress and to protecting the civil rights of all individuals".

Vanita Gupta, the former head of the DOJ's civil rights division under President Obama, didn't give Sessions much credit for the move. Many LGBTQ activists believe Sessions' attitude toward the community hasn't changed at all, and that he's just doing his job to carry out federal hate crime prosecutions.

Back in June, Sessions delivered a keynote address at the 2017 Hate Crimes Summit, organized by the Justice Department's Hate Crimes Subcommittee.

"My son was gay, but everybody knew that", Perkins said.

The Justice Department rarely assigns its lawyers to serve as local prosecutors, but Sessions and the DOJ believe this is a special circumstance in which the government can provide its expertise.

In addition to giving the Justice Department authority to prosecute hate crimes when local and state authorities do not do so, the Shepard-Byrd Act also gives the department the option of helping local authorities investigate and prosecute hate crimes.

Related News: