Monday, August 8, 2011

DC: Police Inaction Could Lead To Firings In Lesbian-Bashing Case

Last week OAQ reported an incident in Washington DC in which officers in the DCPD ignored a gay-bashing incident and refused to file a report regarding the slurs and attacks on a group of lesbians in the Columbia Heights area.  After the incident was brought to the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, a report has since been filed and an investigation begun into the actions of the seven officers that responded at the scene.

DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier

It's clear that some measure of lazy policing had taken place in the incident, and department spokespeople are warning that it could have dire consequences, to include termination, for the officers involved.  This response is largely at the prompting of the organization Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, headed by AJ Singletary.

"'I was appalled when I heard about the incident and the conduct of the officers,' [DC Police Chief] Lanier said in a statement she released on Aug. 5. 'Obviously, this is not the kind of service that the Metropolitan Police Department provides,' she said. 'I have spoken with victims in this case and I want to assure them and the public that the incident and the conduct of the officers are being investigated thoroughly.'

"Singletary said that while GLOV officials don’t dispute Lanier’s characterization of the officers’ conduct as lazy policing, he and former GLOV Chair Chris Farris asked Lanier to look into whether anti-gay sentiment on the part of the officers played a role in the case.

"Singletary said Lanier also told GLOV officials at the Aug. 4 meeting that police were close to obtaining warrants for the arrest of the two suspects and that arrests would be made possibly within days."

I'll be watching the story with interest.  Washington DC is one of the gayest cities in the world, and the idea that some of their police officers might be engaging in anti-gay sentiment is not only surprising, but exceedingly abhorrent.

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