ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the Justice Department is “committed to using every tool in its arsenal” to combat bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation.
Holder cited the department’s efforts during a speech Tuesday at a conference at the University of Texas at Arlington aimed at promoting safe schools and communities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
Holder told attendees that America has an obligation to address bigotry before it becomes a tool of violence, like what happened last week in northeast Dallas.
“Two gay men were attacked with baseball bats,” Holder explained to the group. “When incidents like this occur we want to hear about them and we will do everything in our power to ensure that justice is served.”
Holder said instances like the baseball beating are why the Justice Department is working closely with state and local law enforcement to prevent hate crimes before they occur and to encourage better reporting.
“It’s why we’ve joined forces with other federal agencies, like the Department of Education, to intervene in communities and school systems where discrimination, bullying and harassment have been reported.”
While at the White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools & Communities, Holder recounted several successful criminal prosecutions under federal and state statutes in saying the Obama administration is stepping up efforts to make sure no one is harassed because of “who they love.”
About 400 law enforcement officials, educators, students and community leaders registered for the conference sponsored by the White House and the U.S. departments of justice and education.
The White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools & Communities is part of a series of conferences that will be held across the country.
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