Posted by: Rainbow411 / GSHRadio on 05/17/2017

Sessions Condemns Killings of Trans People (Yes, You Read That Right)

Sessions Condemns Killings of Trans People (Yes, You Read That Right)

BY NEAL BROVERMAN MAY 16 2017 4:33 PM EDT 

Photo: AP Photo 

The Justice Department released a forceful and surprising statement reaffirming its commitment to prosecuting bias-related crimes against transgender individuals. Even more shocking was that Attorney General Jeff Sessions also promised to use his power to protect trans men and women.

The department's statement follows the sentencing Monday of Joshua Brandon Vallum to 49 years in prison for the 2015 murder of his transgender girlfriend, Mercedes Williamson. Upon learning that Williamson was transgender, Vallum lured the Alabama teenager into a car where he beat, stabbed, and shot her with a stungun. Vallum attempted to use the "trans panic" defense to police — he later admitted he knew she was transgender, but was afraid his fellow gang members would discover Williamson's gender identity — and indicated he would not have killed her if she was cisgender.

Vallum was prosecuted under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first case prosecuted under the law that involved a person targeted for their gender identity.

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