AG Sessions Orders Review of Transgender Murders

Due to the alarming number of transgender murders, Session orders review.

Sessions has ordered his prosecutors to review files on murders of transgender people. In a speech on Thursday, Sessions said the review is to make sure there’s not a serial killer or hate group carrying out the attacks. The AG has also told his prosecutors to work with the FBI and U.S. attorney offices around the country to figure out how they can help local law enforcement investigating the murders. The reveal came during his speech at the 2017 Hate Crimes Summit in Washington, D.C.

Sessions, whose defense of transgender people has surprised many, also pointed to the conviction and sentencing of Joshua Brandon Vallum. The Mississippi man was sentenced to 49 years last month for the murder of Mercedes Williamson, his transgender ex-girlfriend. The case was the first murder of a transgender person prosecuted under the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Last year, 22 transgender people were murdered. That made 2016 the highest number ever recorded but this year is on track to surpass that number. Thus far, 14 have lost their lives in 2017.

Session said during his speech, “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 specifically directed that the files of these cases be reviewed to ensure that there is no single person or group behind these murders, or to what extent hate crime motivation lies behind such murders.  I receive regular updates on the status of that review.”

Sessions also promised that his office will continue to enforce crime laws aggressively when transgender people are the victims.

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