(Photo of Lt. Cheryl Crawley courtesy of MPD)
Lou Chibbaro at the Blade reports:
Officers assigned to the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit may no longer be allowed to attend “fundraising or alcohol served events” held by LGBT community organizations, according to an April 3 email memo issued by the unit’s commander.
The email issued by Lt. Cheryl Crawley, commander of the MPD’s Special Liaison Division, which oversees the GLLU, also was sent to several LGBT organizations through a police list serv.
At least two activists who saw the email have raised questions about why GLLU officers should suddenly be barred from attending community events that they have routinely attended in the past.
As Earl Fowlkes of the Center for Black Equity says, this makes no sense.
In my April 11 email to Chief Lanier about this, I raised the following questions regarding Lt. Crawley's directive:
- What does “support” mean in the context of, say, GLAA’s annual awards reception, which scheduled for 6:30 pm at Policy Restaurant and Lounge at 14th and T NW on Thursday, April 23? I was about to send a note to you and GLLU folk inviting you to join us as our guests when Lou Chibbaro shared Lt. Crawley’s message. Community outreach does not signify “support” to me.
- What conflict of interest would occur from GLLU officials, or you yourself, attending our reception, which is a fundraiser for our nonpartisan advocacy and at which there is bar service?
- What precipitated this?
- What is the problem for which this prohibition is the solution? Is the sobriety of your officers so fragile as to be endangered by a friendly visit to a political reception?
- Is there a concern that our awards reception, which traditionally features leading LGBT advocates mingling with top District officials and celebrating the non-controversial cause of equality, would become a drunken orgy? I recall something like that happening at the Hyatt Regency some years ago during Police Week, with naked officers sliding down handrails, but that was not an LGBT event, I was not present, and as you might suggest, those may have been officers from other jurisdictions.
- Is this rule MPD-wide?
- Will you please rescind it, or clarify it to allow MPD officers to attend in their outreach capacity as they have done previously over the years?
I noted that Lanier's predecessor, now Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, attended our 2007 reception where he received our Distinguished Service Award from Frank Kameny. What is the problem now that was not a problem then? Chief Lanier has informed me that her chief counsel is looking into the matter and expects a ruling on Friday.