WHAT: News Conference on Hate Crimes
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.
Tomorrow a coalition of civil rights leaders and elected officials will hold a news conference to call for justice in the case of the murder of Luis Ramirez 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.