Activists call on Fenty to "restore" police liaison unit
Several local LGBT organizations have sent Mayor Adrian Fenty an open letter asking him to overrule the city’s police chief, Cathy Lanier, by directing her to upgrade the headquarters staff at the police department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit.
Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, and the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club cited in the Aug. 26 letter a recent surge in anti-LGBT assaults in the city as demonstrating the need for strengthening the GLLU through an expanded staff.
“In light of this continuing history of violence against members of our community, we seek your immediate attention to fully restore the staffing levels of the GLLU to six full-time officers,” the groups said in the letter.
“Further, we ask that the unit be led by a full-time officer devoted to these duties with the authority to report directly to Chief Lanier. It is our hope that a restored GLLU will serve as a more effective liaison between the LGBT community and MPD,” the letter says.
It may be a manpower issue that consolidated some of the units, including the GLLU, but with the rise in apparent anti-gay violence in DC, it may be a wise thing to beef up the GLLU to it's previous strength.
Police chief de fends fight against anti-LGBT hate crimes
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told a D.C. Council hearing on Wednesday that the department was making progress in its fight against hate crimes and strongly disputed criticism by the head of the police union that the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit was “dying on the vine.”
Her testimony before the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary came after several other witnesses, including D.C. police union chair Kristopher Baumann and LGBT activists, expressed concern that she had seriously weakened the GLLU’s central office, which had once led efforts to fight anti-LGBT hate crimes.
Lanier said some critics have misconstrued her efforts to decentralize and expand the GLLU and the department’s other special liaison units as an effort to discontinue or cut back on the units’ central offices.
“This expansion has not only improved our response to these communities throughout the city, by providing service 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she said. “But it has also improved our ability to provide consistent information to these communities, while ensuring that information about their needs is integrated into services in each patrol district.”
D.C. Council member Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large), who chairs the committee, said he called the hearing to assess the extent of the city’s hate crimes problem and efforts by the police to address the problem. Other Council members participating in the hearing included Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) and Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4).
Graham said he agreed with activists that the GLLU as a whole has been diminished over the past several years. He praised Lanier for doing overall excellent work in fighting crime throughout the city but said she appears to be making changes at the GLLU without “true engagement” from the community the unit is supposed to represent.
“I feel this is slipping away,” Graham said. “It’s a serious loss … This is the message we’re getting.”
Lanier said she could have reached out more to the community on a few issues, including her decision earlier this year to name a civilian administrator as head of the Special Liaison Division, which oversees the GLLU and liaison units working with the Latino, Asian and deaf and hard of hearing communities. But she said members of the GLLU have joined her in expressing disappointment in claims by critics that the unit is not doing as good a job as it has in the past.
I figured I'd post this here, since it has something to do with the DC-GLLU. No matter what the affiliation, anti-gay attacks should be condemned by all gay people. I hope I don't see any attacks against the victim here. That would be immature, childish and well, just wrong.
GOProud head attacked in anti-gay assault
The head of the conservative gay Republican group GOProud was attacked on a secluded street behind Union Station while riding home from work on his bicycle on July 15 by a male teenager who called him a “faggot.”
Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud’s executive director, said the unidentified youth punched him in the chest about 8:30 p.m. as he rode past the youth and six or seven other male teenagers who were with the person that struck him on 2nd Street, N.E. just north of L Street.
“I was on my bike when I approached them,” LaSalvia told the Blade in an email. “Just as I got up to them, the assailant lunged off the sidewalk toward me on the street and delivered a punch across my chest. The momentum of my bicycling driving me into his fist and arm caused a shocking pain like I’ve never felt before,” he said.
“Just as I began to realize what was happening, I heard it. The words are still ringing in my ears as I write this today – ‘F____ faggot!’ LaSalvia said in his email. “It was clear to me in that moment that my sexual orientation had motivated this attack.”
LaSalvia said that after barely catching himself from falling to the ground, he reached into his backpack for his cell phone, with the thought of calling the police. That action prompted one of the teenagers accompanying the attacker to say, “Does he have a gun?” LaSalvia told the Blade.
The attacker and a few of the others with him “puffed up their chests and were clearly ready to continue the attack,” he said. But seconds later, the group fled the scene after he kept his hand inside his backpack, “allowing them to wonder if I was reaching for a gun.”
He said he then rode home and called the police non-emergency number. A receptionist taking the call instructed him to call 911, saying an officer would come to his house to take a report. But LaSalvia said he didn’t feel it necessary to take up police time for what was no longer an emergency. He said he chose instead to wait until morning to file a police report.
Again....since in part it deals with the GLLU, I'm putting this here. Maybe we just need a thread about alleged misconduct regarding treatment of gays and lesbians....
5 lesbians attacked; police refuse to take report
A man who shouted the words “dyke” and “bitches” as he and another man assaulted five lesbians outside the Columbia Heights Metro station at 3 a.m. on July 30 was released by D.C. police officers after they apprehended him on the scene, according to two of the victims.
A third man who accompanied the two attackers used his cell phone to make a video recording of the attack and continued to record the unfolding drama after the police arrived, said Yazzmen Morse, 21, who suffered a black eye and a swollen face from the assault.
According to Morse and the other victim, six or seven officers arrived on the scene in four police cars after responding to an apparent 911 call from a bystander. The two women said the officers, who are assigned to the Third District police station, refused to take a report of the incident, ignoring the women’s repeated requests to make a report.
“The police grabbed one of the attackers and restrained him,” Morse told the Blade. “Then they let him go. And then they said they didn’t want to hear our stories.”
An officer assigned to the D.C. police Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit did make a report of the incident three days later, on Aug. 2. Morse said the GLLU became involved after her mother called police to complain about the refusal of the officers on the scene to report the attack.
The GLLU report lists the incident as an anti-gay hate crime.
Morse and the victim, who spoke on condition that she not be identified, said all five women are pleased with the thoroughness of GLLU Officer Joseph Morquecho, who interviewed Morse at her place of work and the other four by phone.
But the two said they are outraged that the officers on the scene refused to take a report and declined to arrest one of the two suspects. They said the second suspect fled as police arrived.
Morse and the other victim said they do not know the identities of any of the officers on the scene.
The two also said the man who recorded the incident on video with his cell phone appeared to be enjoying the spectacle and continued to record after police arrived.
Post by hoosiercop on Sept 13, 2011 6:29:08 GMT -5
The big question is what the dept's response to this is? It's a pretty big dept, and just because parts of the dept are supportive does not mean everyone on the dept will be. But if the admin is going to be an ally, then they better treat this situation appropriately.
More than a dozen affiliate members of the D.C. Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit joined police and Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department officials Wednesday night for a Public Safety Open House for the LGBT community.
The event, organized by the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs, gave activists and community members a chance to mingle with the GLLU’s full-time and affiliate officers before the start of a discussion, where police and Fire Department officials answered questions about community concerns.
Activists attending the open house at the city’s Reeves Municipal Building at 14th and U streets, N.W., praised police and fire officials for establishing policies calling for reaching out to the LGBT community and prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination against police officers, firefighters and EMS workers as well as against members of the public.
But several attendees, including transgender activists Ruby Corado and Jason Terry and gay activist Rick Rosendall, said the supportive actions and attitudes of high-level police officials often don’t filter down to the behavior and actions of rank and file officers.
They pointed to a number of recent incidents involving police officers that have shaken the LGBT community. In one case, several officers refused to take a report of an incident in which four lesbians were assaulted by two male attackers who called them anti-gay names. The incident occurred outside the Columbia Heights Metro station.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the incident is under investigation and the officers could be fired depending on the findings of the investigation.
D.C. police gay liaison unit gets new full-time sergeant
A sergeant from the D.C. Police Department’s Sixth District has been named supervisor of the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, marking the first time the unit has had a full-time supervisor assigned exclusively to the unit since 2009.
Sgt. Matthew Mahl has replaced Sgt. Carlos Mejia, who had been serving as supervisor of both the GLLU and the Latino Liaison Unit.
LGBT activists, while praising Mejia for his work at the GLLU, have long called on police officials to name a sergeant to head the GLLU who spends all of his or her time assigned to the unit.
But the head of the police division that oversees the GLLU and three other special police liaison units, Capt. Edward Delgado, suggested in an email sent to LGBT activists on Thursday that Mahl’s assignment with the GLLU could be short-lived.
“I would like to welcome Sergeant Matthew Mahl who is an Affiliate Sergeant from the Sixth District,” Delgado said in his email. “He is detailed to the unit to get a better understanding of GLLU operations and requirements…Therefore, let’s give Sergeant Mahl a warm welcome and support him while he is detailed to the Special Liaison Division.”
A police spokesperson couldn’t immediately be reached to determine whether Mahl’s tenure at the GLLU is consider permanent or temporary.
The Special Liaison Division oversees the GLLU as well as the Latino Liaison Unit, the Asian and Pacific Islander Liaison Unit, and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Unit.
Mahl said Mejia, who is helping him “get on the ground running” at the GLLU, will remain as head of the Latino Liaison Unit.
“The plan is for him to just take over full time the Latino Liaison and myself the Gay and Lesbian Liaison,” Mahl told the Blade on Thursday. “He’s helping me out getting things settled down here.”
Post by bluepride on Sept 29, 2012 12:50:37 GMT -5
Officers, activists recognized at police liaison reception
More than a dozen LGBT community activists and the five officers assigned to the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit were awarded by D.C. police officials with a certificate of appreciation Thursday night recognizing their service to community.
Capt. Edward Delgado and Sgts. Carlos Mejia and Matt Mahl, who serve as supervisors for the Dupont Circle headquartered GLLU, handed out the certificates at an open house reception. The event, hosted by the GLLU, attracted more than 50 people from the community and about a dozen police officers and police officials, including Deputy Police Chief Diane Groomes.
“Thank you on behalf of the chief,” said Groomes, referring to Police Chief Cathy Lanier, who was unable to attend the event.
“I know we aren’t perfect. We have a ways to go,” Groomes said. “But I think overall, with the support of the community, we’re definitely getting better every day. So I appreciate all of your support for us and I look forward to working with you.”
Groomes and Delgado told the Blade that Sgt. Mahl, who had been detailed earlier this year to serve as the GLLU’s full-time supervisor, was temporarily assigned earlier this month to a special police robbery unit in response to an upsurge in robberies throughout the city, including “snatch-and-grab” cell phone robberies.
Mahl had worked on robbery investigations prior to his assignment with the GLLU.
The two said Mahl, who is gay, would be returning shortly to the GLLU where he will resume his duties as supervisor.