Sessions sending top DOJ lawyer to prosecute transgender murder case


Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not a man on the frontline of Civil Rights.

After all, the move came at the request of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Republican stalwart who condemned same-sex marriage and voted against expanding federal hate crimes laws to protect transgender people as an Alabama senator, the report said.

Sixteen-year-old Kedarie Johnson was shot to death in Burlington, Iowa, in March 2016.

Kedarie Johnson, 16, was killed in Iowa in March 2016.

This morning we reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions personally ordered a DOJ hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to prosecute a case against a man who murdered a transgender high school student previous year, an act which the NYT described as revealing his "nuances" on transgender issues.

"For Sessions now to seek credit for helping prosecute hate crimes against transgender people is akin to him handing out gasoline and matches and then looking for a pat on the back when he prosecutes someone for committing arson", said Sharon McGowan, a former Justice Department official and strategy director for the LGBT-rights group Lambda Legal. Johnson was gay and reportedly identified as both male and female, occasionally going by the name Kandicee.

But Johnson's relatives tell local news outlets they believe the shooting was a hate crime.

Recently filed court documents show Christopher Perras of the Justice Department's civil rights division will serve as a county prosecutor in the case. "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", he said.

Sessions and his Justice Department have taken the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act doesn't bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Sessions has repeatedly criticized the LGBTQ movement, and his Justice Department has defended employers who discriminate against their queer employees multiple times in the past. "While it is of course good that aggressively pursuing this case, it would behoove Sessions to connect the dots between his policies that promote discrimination and hate that can result in death", she told the Times.

The post Lambda Legal Blasts Jeff Sessions "Publicity Stunt" in Iowa Transgender Hate Crime Case: "The Height of Cynicism" appeared first on Towleroad.

And while he has vowed to focus on hate crimes involving transgender people, Sessions did rescind a policy allowing them to use the bathroom they desired.