849 posts categorized "Public Safety"

May 17, 2015

Susan Rice condemns Gambia president's anti-gay comments

Thank you, Ambassador Rice.

May 15, 2015

Buried in Baltimore: unraveling an old cover-up of child rape and murder

A conspiracy by police and clergy to cover up child rapes and a murder by a Baltimore high school chaplain is unraveled decades later by alumna of the school.

May 14, 2015

Boehner derails

The latest in scapegoating: Amtrak engineer was gay

Brandon_Bostian_0
(Photo via LinkedIn)

The latest thing to make you shake your head. Really: our opponents are this desperate, this unscrupulous, this hateful, this unhinged. Take your pick.

May 13, 2015

The technology that might have prevented the Amtrak disaster

Loose Lips: Bowser Retreats on FOIA exemption for police body cams

Thank you, Mayor Bowser.

Rosendall speaks at launch of Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct

Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance
Press Conference Statement
Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct
National Press Club
May 12, 2015


Good afternoon. I am Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, which has worked for LGBT equality in D.C. since 1971. Thanks to Jody Westby for launching Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct, and to those who have helped her.

When thousands held a vigil in Meridian Hill Park last August 14 in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri, a few Metropolitan Police Department officers were on hand to ensure order. There was none of the belligerence we have seen in other cities. D.C. has come a long way since the 1991 riot by police against revelers at the High Heel Race on 17th Street Northwest.

Police reforms in D.C. since then have included creation of special liaison units such as the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, which promote trust and cooperation between community members and police. With allies including the NAACP and ACLU of the Nation's Capital, GLAA helped push for creation of the independent Office of Police Complaints in the late 1990s.

After the unlawful mass arrest in Pershing Park in September 2002, our then mayor and police chief refused to acknowledge problems until a federal judge ordered the release of an internal report. Then-D.C. councilmember Kathy Patterson, with assistance from ACLU and support from GLAA, won passage of the First Amendment Rights and Police Standards Act of 2004.

Vigilance, persistent engagement, and data are essential to reform. ACLU-NCA reported in 2013 on a dramatic racial disparity in marijuana arrests in the District. Given the roughly equal rates of self-reported marijuana use by white and black citizens, the disparity was scandalous. A partial remedy came with Initiative 71, the Legalization of Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014, which is now law. This was not the first time intervention was required. In 1998, we needed legislation to stop the arrest of people for drinking on their own front porches.

Continue reading "Rosendall speaks at launch of Communities Against Law Enforcement Misconduct" »

May 12, 2015

Could we maybe stop mistreating children with disabilities?

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, police handcuff an autistic girl and pin her to the ground for climbing a tree.

May 10, 2015

Gay-bashing college running back can't escape the evidence

Marshall University running back Steward Marshall jumped out of a car and assaulted a gay couple. He might have gotten away with it, but there was video.

May 06, 2015

When Police Are Outside Agitators

America's Motels Keep Exploding Because of Meth

I really don't think this is the best travel promotion campaign I've ever seen.

May 05, 2015

'Our demand is simple: stop killing us.'

10mag1-articleLarge
(Johnetta Elzie and DeRay Mckesson. Photo by Christaan Felber for The New York Times)

The New York Times Magazine has a fascinating story on social media activists Johnetta Elzie (@Nettaaaaaaaa) and DeRay Mckesson (@deray), who met last summer during the police-citizen standoff in Ferguson. McKesson has been ubiquitous during the unrest in Baltimore the past few weeks. He is smart and brave, never letting the media get him off-message. He is openly gay and single. A new era in activism dawns.

May 01, 2015

Mosby is on the case

Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby, who comes from a family of police officers, has had to deal with a lot of dishonesty and diversion coming from the Baltimore Police Department. This is one example.

Man detained with Freddie Gray disputes police narrative

I am just wondering how many cameras are the police prepared to smash, and how many witnesses are they going to intimidate, if they are unwilling to stop their contempt and their occupation-force mentality regarding communities of color. The indictments announced this morning are one sign that the game is up. We must press on for vital reforms. Bravo to the people in those communities who have led efforts, and put themselves in harm's way, to demand justice and to protect their youth.

MD State Attorney Marilyn Mosby charges 6 police officers in death of Freddie Gray

Thank goodness.

April 30, 2015

Hillary Clinton addresses Baltimore crisis

Excellent speech by Mrs. Clinton, appearing at Columbia University.

April 29, 2015

Stewart to media: Maybe we should have cared about #Baltimore before it was on fire

NCLR: We stand with #Baltimore

Brava and bravo to our friends at the National Center for Lesbian Rights for this powerful statement.

And a child shall lead them

You have to be taught to hate.

April 28, 2015

Orioles COO John Angelos speaks out on racial and economic injustice

The Chief Operating Officer of the Baltimore Orioles, John Angelos, made an eloquent statement on racial and economic injustices in his city. Keith Olbermann explains.

DeRay Mckesson won't follow Blitzer's script

Activist DeRay Mckesson refuses to let CNN's Wolf Blitzer move him from his focus on police violence. McKesson is right. He himself practices and advocates nonviolent protest, but that is not enough for the establishment media. I would love to see the tape of Blitzer asking police officials if they renounce police violence against black men.

Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic gets at the racist double standard at the heart of the failure of policing in his native city:

When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.

April 25, 2015

Surreal juxtaposition on Twitter: correspondents' dinner and Baltimore unrest

Amazing. (H/T @radleybalko)

April 24, 2015

Gay hosts of Ted Cruz, explain yourselves to this young man

On the surface, two different stories. But the excuses some make for tolerating hatemongers make it easier for bullies to assault gay youth while adults who should know better look on and shrug. If we would protect our youth, we must repudiate those who demonize a core part of who they are.

Lynch confirmed as AG; her support for civil asset forfeiture questioned

As Loretta Lynch prepares to be sworn in as Attorney General, Walter Olson at Overlawyered objects to her defense of civil asset forfeiture. I agree with Walter on this.

April 23, 2015

Amendment to protect LGBT homeless youth fails in Senate

I am glad this measure got some Republican votes. That the rest of that caucus could not be minimally humane is very disturbing but sadly not surprising. When you say there is no difference between the political parties, and when you don't bother voting, or abandon an imperfect Democrat in favor of a third-party candidate you know cannot win, you should not be surprised when you get legislative results like this.

Dan Savage: homophobia is gay

April 21, 2015

Some justice in Catholic Church child rape coverup

Good for His Holiness; but St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson is still on the job.

The pitfalls of Civil Asset Forfeiture

Thanks to the ACLU for this. Walter Olson at Cato has written a good deal on the outrage that is Civil Asset Forfeiture. Here is a sample.

April 16, 2015

Gay police unit may be barred from most LGBT events

Cheryl_Crawley_insert_courtesy_MPD
(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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. What precipitated this?
  4. 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?
  5. 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.
  6. Is this rule MPD-wide?
  7. 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.

St. Louis archbishop didn't know sex with children was a crime

NBC News reports on Archbishop Robert Carlson:

The St. Louis archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal testified last month that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children, according to a court deposition released Monday.

Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.

April 15, 2015

O'Reilly: 'Open season on Christians and white men' in U.S.

Really, Mr. O'Reilly?

Shooting_of_Walter_Scott

April 14, 2015

D.C. Council rejects Corizon contract on 6-5 vote

Thanks to Councilmembers Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, David Grosso, Phil Mendelson, Brianne Nadeau, and Elissa Silverman for voting today to disapprove the Corizon contract for inmate healthcare. Thanks also to our many allies who opposed the contract, including Deb Golden at the D.C. Prisoners Project, Samantha Davis at So Others Might Eat, and Shannon Minter at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Here is a sample of GLAA's letter to CMs urging rejection of the contract.

A number of people hired by Corizon wore t-shirts saying "Jobs Not Jail," which is agreeable enough but not the issue under discussion, which was Corizon's terrible record in providing correctional healthcare services. Some of the same folks were picketing in front of the Wilson Building when I arrived for the legislative meeting, and their picket signs were incoherent. I asked one of the Corizon picketers whether he was for Corizon or against it, and he could not answer me. I guess the instructions were, "Wear this shirt and carry this sign."

This could come up again if allies of Mayor Bowser win the special elections for D.C. Council seats in Wards 4 and 8. So stay tuned.

April 13, 2015

GLAA urges D.C. Council to reject #Corizon contract for inmate healthcare

Deb Golden of the D.C. Prisoners Project tweets GLAA's letter to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson urging rejection of the Corizon contract. Here is a copy of our letter to Ward 1 CM Brianne Nadeau. We have also signed on to a joint letter.

April 07, 2015

SC cop faces murder charge after shooting man in back

Without this video, the officer would likely have gotten away with it.

April 03, 2015

Sarah Brady dies at 73

One evening thirty years ago, as I approached La Fonda Restaurant at 17th and R Streets NW (which has been gone for twenty years now), a friend and I saw White House press secretary Jim Brady being helped down the few steps into the restaurant and back into his wheelchair by his wife Sarah and a friend. Mrs. Brady urged us to go ahead of them. We said we were in no hurry, and to take their time. I remember the exact day in 1981 when Jim was gravely injured by a bullet from John Hinckley meant for President Reagan, because it was my 25th birthday. The Bradys received bipartisan respect from the people of Washington. No public servant should have to face gunfire. And the Bradys were nice people.

The 1993 Brady Act required background checks on firearm purchasers. In later years, politics shifted to the point where even background checks were blocked. America's Wild West infatuation with guns has only gotten worse. It is a sad thing to contemplate as we mark Sara Brady's passing. Her husband died eight months ago. May they both rest in peace.

Suspect arrested in Hotel Donovan murder

Somali Militants Kill 147 at Kenyan University

NYTreports on a horrific attack in eastern Kenya.

March 24, 2015

The questionable ethics of #Corizon

GLAA's concerns about Corizon are stated here.

March 19, 2015

UVA student Martese Johnson: My head is 'bloodied but unbowed.'

UVA honor student Martese Johnson faces the press as his lawyer speaks for him. This brought tears to my eyes. Our young men deserve better than this.

UVA honors student Martese Johnson arrested, bloodied by cops

Martese_Johnson1

This latest disgusting example of excessive force by police is causing outrage at UVA and across the country. If you want people to respect the system, the system must respect them.

Martese_johnson-02