Two Harlan County, Kentucky, Men Indicted for Federal Hate Crime Against Individual Because of Sexual Orientation; Update on DOJ and Trayvon Martin — Zimmerman

Released by the
U.S. Dept. of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Thurs., April 12, 2012
Indictment Marks the First Case Charged Under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act Involving Sexual Orientation

Two Harlan County, Ky., men were indicted today for their roles in kidnapping and assaulting a gay man because of his sexual orientation, the Justice Department announced today.

A federal grand jury in London, Ky., returned a three-count indictment charging David Jason Jenkins, 37, and Anthony Ray Jenkins, 20, for kidnapping and assaulting Kevin Pennington, and for conspiring with each other and with other unnamed individuals to commit the kidnapping.

Matthew Shepard, left 

The indictment charges the men with committing a hate crime in violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded federal jurisdiction to include certain assaults motivated by someone’s sexual orientation.  This case marks the first federal hate crime charging a violation of the sexual orientation provision of the statute.

The indictment alleges that on April 4, 2011, the two defendants kidnapped and assaulted Kevin Pennington because of Pennington’s sexual orientation. According to the indictment, the defendants enlisted two women to trick Pennington into getting into a truck with the defendants, so that the defendants could drive Pennington to a state park and assault him. According to the indictment, the defendants then drove Pennington a secluded area of the Kingdom Come State Park in Kentucky and assaulted him. To read more,click here.

Holder: Justice Dept. will act on Trayvon Martin case if evidence of civil rights crime

Attorney General tells Rev. Al Sharpton group fighting youth violence is a top priority 

Reported by the New York Daily News:
Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that the Justice Department will take appropriate action in the killing of Trayvon Martin if it finds evidence that a federal criminal civil rights crime has been committed.
The attorney general made the comment in an appearance before a civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Holder says the department will conduct a thorough and independent review of the evidence in the Martin matter.
The attorney general says one of the department’s top priorities is preventing and combating youth violence and victimization.

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