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GLBT Community Casts Doubt on US Attorney's Office

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A grassroots group in Washington is working to boost trust between the GLBT community and the agency charged with prosecuting hate crimes.

Chris Farris co-founded Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, or GLOV, last year, after a friend was attacked in Adams Morgan.

"You could look underneath one of his eyes and see a shoeprint. Someone hated him so much just for being gay they could stomp into his face, and they got away with it," says Farris.

The U.S. Attorney's Office is responsible for prosecuting such hate crimes. So last night Farris invited its members to meet with GLOV supporters, including Rickey Williams

"We rely on you all to hold and capture violent people. And that's just not happening," says Williams.

"It isn't the case that police are arresting people and bringing them to the US Attorneys Office and were just turning them loose out the back door. If we don't have the evidence, we have no choice," says Herring.

Albert Herring, an assistant U.S. Attorney, says a lack of evidence led to last months ruling in the case of Robert Hannah. The 19-year-old was charged in last year's beating death of local gay man Tony Hunter and received a 3-month prison sentence.

Chris Farris says the ruling is a call for the GLBT community and USAO to team up.

"We have to do something out of this that is positive and then begin the roll-up-our-sleeves kind of work that's going to be necessary to reduce these crimes," says Farris.

Rebecca Sheir reports...

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