US Budgets $21Mln for State, Local Governments to Investigate Hate Crimes
© AP Photo / Esteban FelixMembers of the LGBT movement hold a gay pride flag
© AP Photo / Esteban Felix
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US government will award more than $21 million in grants to help local authorities investigate, prosecute and assist victims of hate crimes, the Justice Department said.
The announcement on the 12th anniversary of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2009. Shepard, who was gay, and Byrd, a African-American, were slain in separate incidents in 1998, the Justice Department said in a press release on Thursday.
“Funding will help state, local and tribal agencies and community organizations address an alarming rise in violent and property crimes committed on the basis of race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability,” the release said.
The law enables the Justice Department to prosecute crimes motivated by race, color, religion and national origin without having to show that the victim was engaged in a federally protected activity, the release added.
The law also empowers the Justice Department to prosecute hate crimes committed because of a person’s sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or disability, according to the release.