Matthew Shepard's parents have sharp words for William Barr in speech delivered at DOJ event

Via:  ender  •  7 months ago  •  23 comments

Matthew Shepard's parents have sharp words for William Barr in speech delivered at DOJ event

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

(CNN)The family of   Matthew Shepard , a 21-year-old Wyoming man killed in a brutal homophobic attack in 1998, had sharp words for Attorney General William Barr in a speech delivered Wednesday at the Justice Department.

The striking speech, at an event marking the anniversary of a hate crimes law named for Shepard in the Justice Department's ornate Great Hall, drew a standing ovation from an audience that included department attorneys.

"We find it interesting and hypocritical that (Barr) would invite us to this event commemorating a hate crime law named after our son and Mr. Byrd, while at the same time asking the Supreme Court to allow the legalized firing of transgender employees," said Cynthia Deitle, the programs and operations director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, referring to James Byrd Jr., a black man killed by white supremacists in 1998.

"Mr. Barr, you cannot have it both ways. If you believe that employers would have the right to terminate transgender employees just because they are transgender, then you believe they are lesser than and not worthy of protection. If so, you need not invite us to future events at the Department of Justice that are billed as celebrating the law that protects these same individuals form hate crimes," she said.

Deitle delivered the speech written by Shepard's parents, Judy and Dennis, and apologized on the pair's behalf for missing the event, noting that they were traveling.

Barr was not present for the event, but the chief of the department's civil rights division, Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, sat on stage behind Deitle as she rebuked his boss. Dreiband spoke earlier in the event about the Justice Department's commitment to prosecuting hate crimes.

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law just under 10 years ago by President Barack Obama. It expanded a federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

A Justice Department spokeswoman on Wednesday disputed the Shepard family's characterization of the department's position in a   case argued before the Supreme Court last week   concerning protections for transgender individuals from employment discrimination.

Appearing before the justices last week, Solicitor General Noel Francisco, arguing for the Trump administration, asserted that the law in question does not bar discrimination based on transgender status or sexual orientation.

Francisco said that the case isn't about whether as a "matter of policy" federal civil rights law should forbid discriminating on the bases of transgender status or sexual orientation. It's about the fact that, from his perspective, the current law doesn't provide those protections. Congress would need to change the law, he said.

Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department has charged more than 70 people with crimes motivated by hate, including the men allegedly behind attacks at synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway, California, in 2018 and 2019, according to Dreiband.

"Hate crimes threaten the health of our community life and a decade after the passage of the Shepard Byrd Act and more than 20 years after the brutal murders of the men for whom it was named, prosecuting hate crimes remains a top priority here at the Department of Justice," Dreiband said.

Photo: In this October 2018, file photo, Judy Shepard, left, and her husband Dennis Shepard, right, speak at a law enforcement roundtable on improving the identification and reporting of hate crimes at Department of Justice in Washington.


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1  seeder  Ender    7 months ago

So trump and company are for a law by taking it to the supreme court to get parts of it knocked out, then turn around and try to say it is for the good as they are pointing it out. Then blame congress.

Yeah sure.

Sean Treacy
1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Ender @1    7 months ago
Then blame congress.

Yes. Because Congress creates laws,not the Supreme court. That's basic civics. 

1.1.1  seeder  Ender  replied to  Sean Treacy @1.1    7 months ago

Trying to strike down part of a law then blaming others is not civics.

Sean Treacy
1.1.2  Sean Treacy  replied to  Ender @1.1.1    7 months ago

Who is trying to strike down part of a law?  

lady in black
2  lady in black    7 months ago

Republican circular logic at it's finest...more alternative facts....THIS ENTIRE ADMINISTRATION IS SO DISGUSTING AND REPREHENSIBLE.  

3  Kavika     7 months ago

Kudos, they hit the nail on the head.

4  Krishna    7 months ago

The family of      Matthew Shepard   , a 21-year-old Wyoming man killed in a brutal homophobic attack in 1998, had sharp words for Attorney General William Barr in a speech delivered Wednesday at the Justice Department.

I remember that-- very sad.

(And there;s still way too much hate in this country...)

Sean Treacy
4.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Krishna @4    7 months ago
year-old Wyoming man killed in a brutal homophobic attack in 1998,

No he wasn't.  

Paula Bartholomew
4.1.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1    7 months ago

Yeah he was.  Matthew Wayne Shepard was a gay American student at the University of Wyoming who was beaten, tortured, and left to die near Laramie on the night of October 6, 1998.

4.1.2  seeder  Ender  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1    7 months ago

Troll somewhere else.

4.1.3  seeder  Ender  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @4.1.1    7 months ago

Yep. I had bought an Erase Hate shirt from them for my brother years ago. Then I bought a hoodie. I still get emails from them so I can kind of keep up with what the Org is doing.

Sean Treacy
4.1.4  Sean Treacy  replied to  Ender @4.1.2    7 months ago

Right, pointing out the falsity of your myths is trolling. The truth is scary!

Shepard was killed by a former lover over crystal meth money. His orientation had nothing to do with his murder and no informed person has claimed otherwise for years. Here's an impeachable left wing source  outlining what happened.

Try and deal with reality rather than the simple little stories youv are spoon fed to keep  the world black and white.  As the former editor of the Nation (also leftwing because I know progressives  get scared by sources that aren't far left)  is quoted in the story "  people shaping the news require a very simple story – they have to be angels and villains.”

4.1.5  seeder  Ender  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.4    7 months ago

Peddle your bullshit elsewhere. Only warning.

Sean Treacy
4.1.6  Sean Treacy  replied to  Ender @4.1.5    7 months ago

The ostrich defense. Good choice. It's clear you hav no factual argument so you hope someone will come and take the scary words away. 

I'm sorry. Feel free to keep  peddling falsehoods to  make yourself  feel better.

4.1.7  Dulay  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.4    7 months ago

“If the award was for a fictional book, I certainly would have no objection to it,” said Albany County Undersheriff Robert DeBree, who was the lead investigator in the 1998 murder of Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student.

Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley, who investigated the murder in 1998, said Jimenez’s book should have been called “The Book of Lies.”

Sean Treacy
4.1.8  Sean Treacy  replied to  Dulay @4.1.7    7 months ago

Fact free  opinions from people with vested interests in keeping the myth alive.

Read the book. 

4.1.10  Dulay  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.8    7 months ago
Fact free  opinions from people with vested interests in keeping the myth alive.

What vested interest is that Sean? 

Did the book go into the fact that Matthew Shepard's toxicology report showed NO meth, NO Coke, NO hard drugs at all? 

Read the book. 

Why would I read that bullshit? 

4.1.12  Dulay  replied to    7 months ago

That's some utterly delusional bullshit. 

4.1.13  TᵢG  replied to    7 months ago
He was a dope dealing male homosexual prostitute who was  killed by his boyfriend..

Wally, from where did you get this idea?

It contradicts the account recorded in the Encyclopedia Britannica (and many more credible sources).

4.1.14  Dulay  replied to  Sean Treacy @4.1.8    7 months ago

How about you read this:

Statement by Tim Newcomb 26 Sept 2013

It is well known that I served pro bono as appellate counsel for Russell Henderson following his 1999 plea-bargain conviction for his involvement in the murder of Matthew Shepard.  I filed a petition for post-conviction relief with the state district court in Laramie, Wyoming and then a petition for habeas corpus with the federal district court in Cheyenne.  

I have been told that  Stephen Jimenez recently released a book that asserts  Matthew Shepard was not targeted because he was gay, that he intimately knew Aaron McKinney (the man who beat him to death), that the law enforcement investigation was deficient and I was named as a source for the book.  I was not contacted before the book was published and have not yet read the book so this response is based on what I have been told, by people I consider credible who have read it.

Years ago, Stephen Jimenez contacted me from New York and informed me that he was writing a screen play about Matthew’s murder; after that, he said he had information that destroyed the idea that Matthew had been targeted because he was gay.  

I reviewed all known documents relevant to Matthew’s murder in the prosecution of Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, beginning with law-enforcement investigations, in part, to detect the presence of investigatory anomalies and signs of undisclosed exculpatory or mitigation evidence. Because my review of the criminal investigation had convinced me that every possibility in Matthew's murder had been run-to-ground  exhaustively by law enforcement, I asked Jimenez to see his evidence.  I have yet to see it.

After the federal court denied Russell's habeas petition, nearing the end of the time in which an appeal could be taken, Jimenez telephoned me, insisting the denial be appealed.  I explained that decision was not his but, because he was so insistent, I asked for the logic of an appeal. He explained he planned to submit a book proposal about Matthew’s murder to a publisher and if Russell’s case was not active he would not be able to get onto Larry King.  We have not spoken since that time, Russell did not file the appeal and his sentence still stands, as issued by the trial court in 1999.

Because I am told the book also challenges the integrity of Sheriff Dave O'Malley and Under Sheriff Rob DeBree, instrumental in the investigation, I add this final note on their behalf.  

Wyoming, as many people know, has few people and our reputations foreshadow us.  After 25 years in criminal defense and appellate law, I have reviewed countless criminal investigations, some conducted under their supervision. Based on my experience, I regard them as consummate law enforcement professionals with deep-rooted integrity.  Their reputations among the people I know, for good reason, are as men of honor.

I have long believed that Aaron McKinney targeted Matthew and justified his horrific savagery because he saw Matthew as being gay.  I continue to agree with law enforcement and the prosecutors’ similar conclusions.

Not that it matters to anyone but me, but I agreed to represent Russell because I do not believe that Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney deserve the same sentence and because I have for far too long seen two standards for everything in this world, including justice -- one for “us” and one for “them.”  

We can be better and those who come after us deserve the best from us. ! "Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it achieves." Edward Deming. *          *          

* Tim Newcomb, a Laramie, Wyoming attorney has practiced criminal defense and appellate law for 25 years; he now assists trial attorneys nationally with appellate strategies and briefing; Newcomb received his LLM from New York University; has taught advanced appellate advocacy at the University of Wyoming College of Law and co-authored the Wyoming Constitution: A Reference Guide, published by Oxford University.

4.1.15  FLYNAVY1  replied to    7 months ago

And I bet Wally, you still believe the bullshit that explosion in the #2 turret on the Iowa in 1989 was due to a torrid love affair between Truitt and Hartwig gone bad.


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