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Why Hate Crimes Legislation Matters

November 16, 2009

One of the provisions of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is that the federal government can step in and help investigate hate crimes that local jurisdictions are not properly investigating.  Sadly, news that came out last Friday shows exactly why this is needed.

Jorge Steven López’s body was found decapitated, dismembered and partially burned in a wooded area near Cayey on Friday, Nov. 13. His friends became concerned after he failed to meet them at a popular gay club in the San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood…

…Investigator Angel Rodriguez’s assertion López, 19, somehow caused his own death sparked widespread outrage and anger among Puerto Rican activists.

“When these type of people get into this and go out into the streets like this, they know this can happen to them,” Rodriguez said a statement local media outlets broadcast and reported.

Here we have a case of a bigoted local official who will clearly not investigate this horrific murder with the same vigor and thoroughness that a non-bigoted official would.  AMERICAblog has an action center up where you can email the  Department of Justice and FBI asking them to invoke their new authority to investigate this for what it is–a hate crime.  Take less than one minute and go here to act to encourage Attorney General Holder and FBI Director Mueller to investigate and find out if this was a hate crime.

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