Attorney General Jeff Sessions has shocked a few people since he has decided to send a Department of Justice lawyer to help prosecute the alleged murderer of an Iowa transgender teen. From The New York Times:

“This is just one example of the attorney general’s commitment to enforcing the laws enacted by Congress and to protecting the civil rights of all individuals,” said Devin O’Malley, a spokesman for the Justice Department.

Lawyer Christopher J. Perras, who works in the civil rights division at the DOJ, officially became involved last Friday and will help Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers and Assistant Iowa Attorney General Laura Roan to prosecute 22-year-old Jorge “Lumni” Sanders-Galvez. He faces first-degree murder charges “in the shooting death of Kedarie Johnson.”

Johnson, 16, was shot to death in March 2016. Family and friends said he was gay and identified as both male and female, often went by the name Kandicee.

No one has revealed the motive in the killing. Beavers stated that the feds wanted to become involved because “they are investigating the case as a federal hate crime” and may bring charges of their own against Sanders-Galvez.

As a senator, Sessions opposed a federal law that “makes it a crime to attack someone based on gender identity.” During his confirmation hearing, he told the Senate Judiciary Committee that everyone “can be sure” he will enforce the law.

While Sessions is against same-sex marriage and stated that federal laws do not protect transgender people under federal law, he has always spoken out fiercely against hate crimes. The New York Times continued:

But he has also brought several hate crime cases, including one against a man accused of burning a mosque. He condemned white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Va., far more forcefully than the president. And he has vowed tough action against hate crimes, speaking aggressively in ways that few of his most ardent opponents could have predicted. He has tied enforcement of those crimes to his tough stance against violence, a cornerstone of his policies as attorney general.

In June, Sessions gave a speech at the 2017 Hate Crime summit in which he reiterated his commitment to enforce hate crime laws. From USA Today:

“I personally met with the Department’s senior leadership and the Civil Rights Division to discuss a spate of murders around the country of transgender individuals,” he continued. “I have directed the Civil Rights Division to work with the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to identify ways the Department can support the state and local law enforcement authorities investigating these incidents and to determine whether federal action would be appropriate.

“I specifically directed that the files of these cases be reviewed to ensure that there is no single person or group behind these murders or to what extent hate crime motivation lies behind such murders,” he said. “I receive regular updates on the status of that review.”

Back in March, some House members asked Sessions to review numerous murders of black transgender females. He has asked the top civil rights prosecutors and the FBI to investigate the case files and contact local authorities for information.