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Marcus D. Washington of Knoxville, Tennessee, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance; and possession with intent to distribute a Schedule II controlled substance.

Atlanta Police Sergeant Trevor King, 48, of Rex, Georgia, was charged by a federal grand jury with violating the rights of a man by using excessive force against him on Oct. 13, 2014.

Head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta delivered remarks at the division’s annual awards ceremony. She spoke about the division’s history dating back to the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and explained that “Congress created this division to tackle the toughest issues, to serve as an independent and forceful agency of justice and hope. You cannot be an agent of change without a deep reservoir of hope. It’s the hope that men and women today can build a more just, more inclusive and more free future for the children of tomorrow. It’s the hope that thanks to all of you in the Civil Rights Division, people will reap the benefits of this work for generations to come – in safer streets, in desegregated schools, in fair markets and in stronger communities. It’s the hope that despite the zigs and the zags of our nation’s history, you will continue to ensure that America marches forward, imperfectly yet inexorably.”

The Justice Department and the government of Honduras announced a formal partnership to protect workers from discrimination based on citizenship, immigration status and national origin.

The Justice Department announced that the developers of six multi-family housing complexes in southern Mississippi have agreed to pay $350,000 to settle claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by building apartment complexes that were inaccessible to persons with disabilities. As part of the settlement, the defendants also agreed to make substantial retrofits to remove accessibility barriers at the six complexes, which have nearly 500 covered units.

After a five-day trial, a federal jury found Justin Cole Whittington, 25, of Bakersfield, California, guilty of federal hate crimes for firing a shotgun while yelling racist slurs at a Latino man.

The Justice Department reached an agreement with the Watson Chapel, Arkansas, School District to ensure that the district does not discriminate on the basis of race in its administration of school discipline. The consent order, approved by the District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, will replace the use of punitive discipline with more positive approaches as part of an overall focus on improving student achievement and school climate.

Head of the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta joined Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch for a small group discussion with LGBT Youth at Harvey Milk High School in New York City. Following the discussion, Attorney General Lynch delivered remarks and said, “This is a great country as you know but it’s only great if everyone gets the chance to participate, if everyone has a chance to be seen for who they truly are.”

Attorney General Lynch delivered remarks at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) Center at an interfaith event on the Justice Department’s commitment to combating hate crimes, explaining that “hate crimes don’t just target individuals. They tear at the fabric of our communities, and they also stain our dearest ideals and our nation’s very soul.”

The Justice Department opened a civil pattern-or-practice investigation into the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

The Justice Department issued a resource to protect religious institutions from discriminatory zoning and land use regulations.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Sterling Heights, Michigan, alleging that the city violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA) when it denied special land use approval to allow the American Islamic Community Center Inc. (AICC) to build a mosque on five adjoining parcels of land located in the city.

The Justice Department announced that it has entered into a comprehensive agreement with the St. Louis County Family Court to resolve the department’s findings of serious and systemic violations of juvenile due process and equal protection rights.

David Q. Givhan, aka “Premier,” 34, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was convicted by a jury of one count of sex trafficking and three counts of interstate transportation for prostitution.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Culpeper County, Virginia, alleging that the county violated RLUIPA when it denied a sewage permit application to the Islamic Center of Culpeper (ICC), effectively preventing the ICC from building a small mosque on land that it had purchased in the county. The land is located in a zoning district where religious land use is permitted by right.

The Justice Department announced that it has opened an investigation into the conditions at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia. The investigation will focus on whether the jail violates the constitutional rights of inmates to adequate medical and mental health care; violates the constitutional rights of inmates who have mental illness by secluding them in isolation for prolonged time periods; and violates the rights of inmates who have mental illness by denying them access to services, programs and activities because of their disability.

The Justice Department reached an agreement resolving claims that 1st Class Staffing LLC, a staffing company based in Orem, Utah, discriminated against work-authorized non-U.S. citizens in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The Justice Department announced that on Dec. 9, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska ruled in the department’s favor in its breach of contract claim against Nebraska Beef Ltd., a meat packing company based in Omaha.

Vanita Gupta delivered remarks at a White House convening on advancing equity for women and girls of color, explaining that “Across the Obama Administration, we all believe that empowering girls today – providing them a seat at the table and defending their civil rights – will help our country reach its full potential tomorrow. How we treat women and girls of color, how we lift each other up and how we inspire one another changes lives. It strengthens families. And it transforms communities.”