Puerto Rico Creates Special Committee For Hate Crimes
Puerto Rico's attorney general has announced that it's government has put together a special committee to investigate hate crimes. This comes after a rash of violent crimes against gays in lesbians in Puerto Rico.
The Associated Press reports:
"I think this is a step in the right direction to start to collect statistics that are vital to curb the crisis of violence against the gay community in Puerto Rico," said Pedro Julio Serrano, a native of the U.S. territory and spokesman for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Serrano said 25 slayings of gay and transgender people in the past eight years may have been motivated by bias — including the decapitation in November of gay teen Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, whose killing inspired vigils as far away as New York and Chicago.
The new government committee involves agencies including the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Juan, police officials and the island's civil rights commission, according to a statement release by the attorney general late Friday.
"With the creation of this committee, we will document the extent of hate crimes," said Attorney General Guillermo Somoza Colombani, who added that the data will help develop policies to attend to the victims.
Several of the aforementioned 25 slayings in Puerto Rico took place over the last year. You may remember the appalling murder of Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado last November, whose killer was recently sentenced to 99 years in prison, as well as that of a transgendered woman who was murdered this past April.