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CIVIL RIGHTS LEADERS DEMAND JUSTICE FOR LUIS RAMIREZ AND CALL FOR ACTION ON INCREASE OF HATE CRIMES
Civil rights community stunned by defendants’ acquittal despite swell of evidence and testimony to the contrary; calls for swift passage of Hate Crimes bill in Senate
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 13, 2009, a broad coalition of civil rights leaders and elected officials will host a news conference in Russell Park in front of the Russell Senate Office Building at 10:00 a.m. EST to discuss the severe injustice suffered by a hate crime victim who was murdered in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. The coalition will call on the United States Department of Justice to pursue a broad and comprehensive investigation of the beating and brutal murder of 25 year old, father of two, Luis Ramirez. The Department of Justice should consider bringing federal hate crimes charges against those responsible for Ramirez’s death. Ramirez lost his life in July 2008, after he was knocked unconscious and kicked in the head by a group of Shenandoah teenagers who yelled racial epithets before and during the brutal beating. A Schuylkill County Court jury acquitted Brandon Piekarsky, 17, of third-degree murder and ethnic intimidation and Derrick Donchak, 19, of aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation a few weeks ago. Both were convicted of simple assault.
The coalition will also urge the Senate for swift passage of the “Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009,” following a successful vote by the U.S. House of Representatives recently. The bill strengthens existing federal hate crime laws by authorizing the Department of Justice to assist local authorities in investigating and prosecuting certain bias-motivated crimes. The bill would also provide authority for the federal government to prosecute some violent bias-motivated crimes directed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability.
WHAT: News Conference on Hate Crimes
WHO: John Amaya, Legislative Staff Attorney, MALDEF
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Hilary O. Shelton, Vice President for Advocacy/Director of Washington
Michael Lieberman, Washington Counsel, Anti-Defamation League
Janet Murguía, President & CEO, NCLR
Congressman Mike Honda (D-CA)
WHEN: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. EST
WHERE: Russell Park, in front of the Russell Senate Office Building, on the corner
of Constitution Ave. & Delaware Ave. NE in Washington, D.C.