January 21, 2016 at 5:10 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Va. man charged under federal hate crimes law

Tunisian

The Justice Department has charged a Virginia man with a hate crime in connection with an alleged anti-gay attack.

A Virginia man faces a federal hate crimes charge in connection with an alleged anti-gay attack.

The Justice Department in a statement it released on Tuesday alleges James William Hill, III, of Chester on May 22, 2015, assaulted a man because of his “actual and perceived sexual orientation.” GayRVA reported the incident took place at an Amazon shipping facility in Chesterfield County.

Chesterfield County prosecutors in May 2015 charged Hill with assault in connection with the alleged incident.

Virginia’s hate crimes law does not include sexual orientation.

GayRVA reported that Chesterfield County prosecutors decided to “null prosse” the case, which would allow them to charge Hill at a later date. GayRVA cited sources within the Chesterfield Police Department who said they had expected federal authorities to charge him under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Hill is the first person in Virginia indicated under the law that President Obama signed in 2009.

Hill faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

1 Comment
  • Kudos to Brad Kutner and GayRVA for persistently bringing this hate crime to USDOJ’s attention. Likewise, thanks to Melissa Hipolit and WTVR CBS 6 for their news coverage of this on-the-job anti-gay hate crime.

    It’s important that law enforcement and people throughout the Commonwealth know the federal hate crimes law will provide justice to LGBTQ people too. It also serves as a stark reminder to state legislators in Richmond to add LGBTQs to Virginia’s hate crimes law.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR_-rTX_Hmc

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