Anti-LGBT attack at Amazon shipping facility to be first use of Federal Hate Crime law’s sexual orientation provision in Virginia history
An assault committed at the Amazon shipping facility located in Chesterfield County has been upgraded to a hate crime and taken over by the US Department of Justice.
Attacking someone because they are gay does not qualify as a hate crime in the Commonwealth, and details around the attack, including a confession from the assailant saying he hit the victim because of his sexuality, lead CPD to urge the Federal Government to step in.
The feds are prosecuting the attacker under the 2009 Matthew Shepard James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Act which offers protections for sexual orientation and gender identity when a state may not.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, there have been at least six prosecutions that have resulted in a conviction under the HCPA for bias motivated crimes on the basis of sexual orientation. There have been other prosecutions that have resulted in acquittals and a hung jury.
This would be the first time the law’s sexual orientation provision was used in VA.
As GayRVA reported last November, it’s been almost a year since the crime happened. Chesterfield County prosecutors null prosed the case, and sources from within CPD told GayRVA they were told to wait for the Feds to step in.
Read the full release from the Department of Justice below:
RICHMOND, Va. – James William Hill III, 34, of Chester, was charged today with a federal hate crime under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act for a May 2015 assault on a victim known as C.T. in the indictment.
According to the indictment, on or about May 22, 2015, Hill did willfully cause bodily injury to C.T by assaulting C.T., including by punching the victim, because of C.T.’s actual and perceived sexual orientation.
Hill faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, if convicted. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta; and Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, made the announcement after the indictment was returned. Assistant U.S. Attorney S. David Schiller, and Trial Attorney Ryan Murguía of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section are prosecuting the case.
An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
The attacker told police that he assaulted the victim because he was gay.January 20, 2016
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