Matthew Shepard Justice Kristen Clarke state South Carolina Rights community relationships man Trans Transgender Matthew Shepard Justice Kristen Clarke state South Carolina

Dime Doe: “Historic” verdict reached in murder trial of Black trans woman

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A South Carolina man is the first person to be convicted in a federal hate crime case based on gender identity. Content warning: This story includes topics that could make some readers feel uncomfortable and/or upset. “A unanimous jury has found the defendant guilty for the heinous and tragic murder of Dime Doe, a Black transgender woman,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, in an online press release.

On 24 February, after a four day trial in South Carolina, Daqua Lameek Ritter was found guilty on all charges including one hate crime count, one federal firearms count, one obstruction count and the murder of Dime.

Clarke continued: “The jury’s verdict sends a clear message: Black trans lives matter, bias-motivated violence will not be tolerated, and perpetrators of hate crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” The statement flagged the “historic” nature of this case: “This defendant is the first to be found guilty by trial verdict for a hate crime motivated by gender identity under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

Hate Crimes Prevention Act.” READ MORE: 5 ways to cope with the distressing news cycle as a trans+ person This 2009 landmark piece of legislation allows federal criminal prosecution of hate crimes motivated by a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. “We want the Black trans community to know that you are seen and heard, that we stand with the LGBTQI+ community, and that we will use every tool available to seek justice for victims and their families,” Clarke explained.

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