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November 18, 2009

Velázquez Denounces Murder of Gay Teen in Puerto Rico

Washington, DC –U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) today released a statement condemning the brutal murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado, a Puerto Rican teenager who was the victim of a hate crime.  The following is Velázquez’s statement:

“The attack and murder of Jorge Steven López Mercado was a brutal and monstrous act. Those responsible must be held accountable.  Crimes motivated by hate are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  I call on the investigators assigned to this case to lead a full, unbiased investigation into this heinous crime.

“All Americans have a fundamental right to feel safe in their communities.  Sadly, hate crimes plague far too many neighborhoods across the country.  The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law just weeks ago to strengthen enforcement against hate crimes.  The prosecution should make full use of these federal laws and help ensure that offenses motivated by bigotry and hate are put to an end.”