Department of Justice uses hate crimes statute on behalf of individuals with disabilities for the first time

The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed numerous charges against five defendants, including four counts of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, based on the alleged mistreatment, theft, forced labor, sex trafficking, denial of nutrition, and imprisonment of individuals with disabilities over several years and across several states.   At least two of the victims died.   This is the first time charges have been filed based in part on alleged hate crimes based on disability. To read more about this case, see the DOJ website.