Feds to assist investigation in death of transgender teen

Lester Mason
October 16, 2017

As attorney general, he's made similar moves, pushing to revoke rules protecting transgender students, and ordering the Justice Department to take the position in court cases that transgender people are not protected from workplace discrimination under federal civil rights laws.

In a move that surprised some familiar with his record on LGBT rights, Jeff Sessions sent a high-profile hate crimes lawyer to Iowa to assist the prosecution of a man charged with murdering a genderfluid teenager a year ago.

Sanders-Galvez, 22, was charged with first-degree murder in the March 2016 shooting death of 16-year-old Kedarie Johnson. Perras will help press the case against accused killer Jorge "Lumni" Sanders-Galvez, according to court documents filed Friday and reported by both the Times and the Des Moines Register. Federal prosecutors are considering filing their own charges in the case.

Devin O'Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department said that this is an instance of the attorney general's allegiance to implement the laws validated by Congress and safeguarding the civil rights of all.

Authorities have not disclosed a motive.

Friends and family say Johnson may have been targeted because of his sexuality.


The New York Times reported Sunday that Sessions "personally initiated" the dispatch of a prominent federal attorney to Burlington.

Johnson did not identify as transgender and always used the pronoun "he", his mother told the Des Moines Register.

Sessions's approach has confused LGBT rights advocates. He reversed an Obama administration policy encouraging schools to allow transgender students to use a bathroom according to the gender they identify with.

"I know the responsibility that we have, and we have a responsibility to protect people's freedom, their religious rights, their integrity, their ability to express themselves, to push back against violence and hate crimes that occur in our country", the attorney general told a hate crimes summit in Washington.

Authorities are investigating Johnson's killing as a hate crime.

"While it is of course good that DOJ is aggressively pursuing this case", Vanita Gupta, who headed the DOJ's civil rights division in the Obama administration told The Times, "it would behoove Sessions to connect the dots between his policies that promote discrimination and hate that can result in death".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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