693 posts categorized "Public Safety"

November 18, 2013

Girlfriend to deputies: George Zimmerman pointed a shotgun at me

Rene Stutzman reports at the Orlando Sentinel:

George Zimmerman was arrested Monday after he cocked and pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend, shattered a glass-top table, then pushed her out of the house and barricaded himself inside after she ordered him to move out, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

He surrendered peacefully a few minutes later and was hauled off to jail, where he was being held without bail on domestic-violence and aggravated-assault charges.

It was the second time in three months that the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer, who was acquitted of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was handcuffed after being accused of domestic violence and threatening a woman with a gun.

One suspects that someone whose life is more valued in Florida than Trayvon's will have to die before Zimmerman is stopped once and for all. I cannot get out of my mind the photo of Trayvon lying on the ground, his lifeless eyes staring up as if in disbelief. There still has not been justice for him, and this is intolerable.

November 15, 2013

Alec Baldwin's homophobic outbursts

Andrew Sullivan writes:

Baldwin is not just an actor; he hosts a political show on MSNBC. He behaves as a political actor with his support of various causes, all of them noble. He has set himself up as a pro-gay progressive. If we concede the point that because you are somehow formally pro-gay, it doesn’t matter if you hurl murderous homophobic threats against people in public, then we have sold our soul.

Maybe Baldwin is pro-gay as long as he gets to be the top. Maybe his analyst needs to point this out to him. Or his accountant.

I admire Baldwin's acting and find him likable in interviews. He appears to be a smart and thoughtful guy. And I can sympathize with him for the constant harassment by paparazzi. But by this time he should have worked out a response that does not include homophobic and misogynistic epithets and violent threats. In any case, he has done this too many times to pass it off as a mere lapse. And Andrew is right that we must not be enablers.

Neo-Nazi Christians riot in Poland, torching cars and rainbow diversity arch

Al Jazeera reports. I would caution people not to say that the rioters are not Christians. They are a fringe group, but they do, unfortunately, represent one (very ugly) face of Christianity.

November 05, 2013

South African Student Tortured by Putin’s Anti-Gay Thugs


Melanie Nathan reports. I can't bear to embed the disgusting video, but if you have the stomach for it you can follow the link. This is one example of the depraved cruelty Putin has unleashed. Who can watch Olympics after this?

Ron Paul in Richmond: 2nd Amendment is for when he loses an argument


Happy election day. James Hohmann at Politico reports on Ron Paul's visit to Richmond on Monday night to stump for Ken Cuccinelli.

When Ron Paul claims the 2nd Amendment is for "rebellion against tyrannical governments," what he means is that he has a right to shoot you when he loses an argument. Meanwhile, his son Rand is exposed as a serial, incorrigible plagiarist (more examples keep cropping up), and his response is to shoot the messenger.

For these guys, guns are the equivalent of tax cuts for George W. Bush — the answer to everything! Well pardon me, but when a guy goes to Richmond and talks about nullification and resorting to guns if he doesn't get his way, I can't help thinking of that nice man General Sherman. (Though this time around I am inclined to Let Them Leave.)

November 04, 2013

Antigay Attack in St. Petersburg

The Advocate reports.

October 26, 2013

Daubenmire: Not Allowing Christians To Bully Gays Is A Form Of Bullying Against Christians

Right Wing Watch shares this video from "Coach" Dave Daubenmire that illustrates the topsy-turvy perspective of the anti-gay right: Not letting them bully us constitutes bullying them. Their religious freedom entitles, indeed obligates, them to trample everyone else's religious freedom by imposing their religious views on everyone else using the power of the state.

October 24, 2013

Camenker: Victims Of Gay Bashing Had It Coming

The above audio clip is from Linda Harvey's interview with Brian Camenker of MassResistance. Click here for more.

October 17, 2013

Unsolved Black LGBT Murders & Attacks

NoMoreDownLow.TV reports:

On this special edition of the award winning web series NoMoreDownLow.TV, we remember the victims of violent murders, attacks and hate crimes in the African American same gender loving community. We are only able to touch the tip of the iceberg of the homicides in an effort to bring awareness to the public and hopefully change the culture that leads to these horrific crimes against humanity. More information can be found at:

(Hat tip: Donald Burch III)

Happy SpiritDay - against bullying


I have nothing purple to wear, but happy Spirit Day - and thanks to my many fellow advocates who work to stop bullying. Here is an essay I wrote on the subject: "Strange Fruit".

October 14, 2013

Justice, Jamaican-style

Our friend Nico Tynedale shares this video of a man, who is accused of murder, being shot by police while on the ground. Nico comments:

Good Lord!.. my heart cries out!.. I am baffled by the reports made by the police department compared to that showed in this video.. because at nooo! point I could relate in this video that before the officer pulled his gun that the man attacked him. This is clear evidence of police brutrality and brings to question how many reports the police department have fabricated when it comes to similar cases. Guilty or not the fact that the man was already on the ground it was clear enough that if they wanted to cuff him and take him in for questining they had him where they need him but instead they beat him and shot him to death... MURDER!!!!

Well, thank God nothing like that happens here in the good old U.S. of A.! Oh, wait.

Police harassment and racial profiling, Philadelphia, 27 Sep 2013

Imagine your freedom suddenly and arbitrarily being taken away by an above-the-law cop who of course invents a right not to be videotaped. This incident happened in Philadelphia. The cop's racial bigotry becomes quite plain. This abusive behavior turns the law into an obscenity.

October 13, 2013

Rios cites shoddy book to call Matthew Shepard murder a 'complete fraud'

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch writes:

Not only did American Family Association talk show host Sand Rios plug the ex-gay movement and warn that gay people are trapped in “a powerful web of deceit” during her Values Voter Summit speech yesterday, but she also cited Stephen Jimenez’s shoddy reporting on the Matthew Shepard case to call his murder a “complete fraud.” She lamented that schools host the play The Laramie Project to teach tolerance to students and said that Shepard’s murder was a result of a “drug deal gone bad.”

Luke Brinker at Media Matters debunks the Jiminez book.

October 09, 2013

Church Depravity Watch: Archbishop blames divorced parents for pedophilia


Check out the latest example of moral leadership from the princes of Holy Mother Church.

Apparently crimes by priests against children are the fault of everyone but those who commit them, facilitate them, and cover them up. Reforming the Roman Church will be like cleaning the Augean Stables.

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis. Photo: CNS/Karen Callaway, Catholic New World)

October 04, 2013

Alex Jones is already calling shots at U.S. Capitol a false flag attack

Media Matters shares this video of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones jumping to his usual conclusions.

Road rage and dry cleaning

It's not just the unfortunate Miriam Carey who goes crazy behind the wheel of a car. Just now, walking home carrying my dry cleaning, I crossed 17th Street with the light, and a woman on P Street waiting to turn threw up her hands and began cursing (though I couldn't hear her because her windows were rolled up), then as soon as I crossed she pealed around the corner angrily, stepping on the gas to show her outrage at being inconvenienced for five seconds. By the look of things she has a home, a job, decent clothes, a car, and is well fed (not to mention the vision to drive a car and read a traffic light). A gentleman I had just passed in front of the CVS has none of those things. What do we really win if we lose public civility?

Meanwhile, I am thinking of the one-year-old girl, presumably Miriam Carey's daughter, who was in the car with her yesterday, and how traumatized she must be. A sad example of the need for better mental health care.

Question: Why is so much of this MPD general order on vehicular pursuits blacked out?

September 19, 2013

The Abominable Crime: When your love is against the law

I saw this powerful film tonight and met Jamaican gay activist Maurice Tomlinson. Check it out.

September 17, 2013

Comfortably Numb

Sean Bugg has a good commentary on our apparent inability to do anything about the epidemic of gun violence in this country.

Having a classroom filled with the shattered bodies of children wasn't enough. The constant drip of stories of children shooting themselves and each other with their family guns wasn't enough. The shooting death of an ''open carry'' advocate by her husband in a domestic disturbance that became a murder/suicide wasn't enough. A gun-safety trainer shooting a participant in his gun-safety class wasn't enough. An armed man shooting himself in the leg and lying to the police that a gang of black kids did it wasn't enough.

We're numb.

We're numb to the political power of the National Rifle Association, an organization that's grown so radical and virulent that it's begun skating up to the line of calling for armed rebellion. We're numb to the money of the few that ensures our laws make buying and using a gun easier than buying and driving a car. We're numb to politicians so craven and lickspittle that even when one of their own is shot they would never dare disturb the NRA purse strings that have replaced their spinal columns.

September 11, 2013

Speak, Memory


Here's remembering not just the victims and first responders on that awful day twelve years ago, but the freedoms that were lost, and the blood and treasure that were subsequently spent, when our patriotism was misused by unscrupulous people who exploited the attack to divide the country for a power grab and partisan gain. Their punditry is hollow and hypocritical. May a lifetime of showers never wash away the shame that properly clings to them for their acts.

August 20, 2013

"Stand Up to 'Stand Your Ground'" PSA


stopgunviolence describes this video:

PSA from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence urging Americans to "Stand up to 'Stand Your Ground'" laws in 26 states across the country.

Visit http://www.csgv.org/standup to sign a petition to your state legislators calling on them to oppose "Stand Your Ground" laws.

August 19, 2013

August 21 - Launch of the DC Anti-Violence Collaborative

This just in from David Mariner at the DC Center:

Come to Columbia Heights Plaza [14th & Park Rd NW] this Wednesday, August 21 at 6:30 PM to find out about a new group that seeks to coordinate advocacy and services around lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) experiences of violence.

Washington, DC -- Local LGBT organizations and advocates are coming together to launch the DC Anti-Violence Collaborative (DCAVC), a new group dedicated to ending cycles of violence and oppression impacting LGBT community in the District of Columbia.

"The DC Anti-Violence Collaborative will allow us to start coordinating vital services for survivors of violence in our communities," said Ruby Corado, founder and executive director of Casa Ruby. "There is a tremendous need, and by working together across organizations, we will be better able to address that need," Corado added.

Hassan Naveed, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, said, "DCAVC will help us create an inclusive advocacy agenda in a safe space for all intersections of the LGBTQH communities. It's time for us tighten coordination in our advocacy efforts and make sure we are providing representation for everyone."

"The central idea behind the DC Anti-Violence Collaborative is that organizations and activists can come together in a place to address, collectively, issues of police violence, hate violence, sexual violence, and partner violence through advocacy, education, grassroots organizing, and providing services," said Jason Terry, anti-violence organizer with the DC Trans Coalition. "I see this as really long-term work that over time can build collective power and collective safety."

The DC Anti-Violence Collaborative will meet monthly, and plans to organize two town hall meetings later this fall. DCAVC will also soon be launching in new online tool to report incidents of anti-LGBTQH violence.

UK authorities detain Glenn Greenwald's partner for 9 hours at Heathrow

(David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald. AP photo)

The Guardian reports here and here. Greenwald reacts. The Telegraph reports. Andrew Sullivan reacts.

I have not been a fan of Edward Snowden, nor of Glenn Greenwald. I was initially unconcerned about NSA surveillance. But recent events are forcing a reassessment. First came the news that the founder of the Lavabit encrypted email service used by Snowden is being threatened for his decision to shut it down rather than cooperate with the surveillance. Now I learn that Greenwald's Brazilian partner was detained for 9 hours at Heathrow (where he was in transit to Rio) and several of his possessions, including his cellphone and laptop, confiscated. Greenwald and his partner are defiant, as is the Guardian, and rightfully so. Mr. President, stop this outrageous and lawless behavior NOW.

The best bet for British authorities at this point may be to claim that there was an unusually large number of lonely security officers on duty yesterday at Heathrow, and it took nine hours for each of them to get a turn at patting down David Miranda and searching his body cavities. That might be believed.

August 08, 2013

From the annals of white crime

Chauncey DeVega at We Are Respectable Negroes makes a good point:

White men are approximately 30 percent of the American public, but they account for 70 percent of mass shootings. The pathological mix that is gun culture and imperiled/aggrieved white masculinity is killing people--most of whom are white--yet, the white community looks the other way.

The perpetuation of privilege requires a lot of brazen double standards.

August 02, 2013

GLAA to Councilmembers: Do not postpone election of DC AG

Read the letter here. Thanks to former GLAA President Craig Howell for drafting it.

August 01, 2013

Ad attacks Christine Quinn for supporting Ray Kelly

If you think D.C. elections get nasty, check out this one from NYC.

I figured that O'Reilly would blame the victim, but Don Lemon?


Terrell Jermaine Starr at NewsOne slams CNN's Don Lemon for taking up the topsy-turvy reasoning of Fox's Bill O'Reilly, who responded to the Zimmerman verdict by saying "you've got to stop young Black women from having babies out of wedlock," and "you've got to demand discipline in your public schools in the inner cities." Lemon's contribution was to criticize young black men who wear saggy pants.

Wow. What came over Don? He seemed quite reasonable before (though I don't watch CNN much). Going into the saggy pants discussion in the context of the Zimmerman verdict is classic blame-the-victim stuff, which is especially gratuitous because Trayvon was doing no such thing. They might as well have started criticizing "scary African hairstyles," which would have been equally egregious and gratuitous and laughable and unintentionally revealing. Is George C. Wolfe writing a play about this? Did we fall into a time warp? Next up, top ten things women should do to avoid being raped, plus if you weren't so damn queer you wouldn't get beaten up. Meanwhile, I can't get out of my mind the image of the lifeless body of an innocent kid the same age as the ones I advise on their thesis topics. These kids whose vulnerability to racist violence should make us all ashamed in 2013. STFU about their fashion choices and stop killing my kids.

(Hat tip: H. Alexander Satorie-Robinson)

July 23, 2013

The Hunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPD's Stop-and-Frisk Policy

The Nation reports. A quick-witted 17-year-old surreptitiously turned on his iPod after being stopped-and-frisked for the third time.

A secret audio recording of a stop-and-frisk in action sheds unprecedented light on a practice that has put the city's young people of color in the NYPD's crosshairs. Read the full story here.

This crap has to stop.

Update: Just watched it again. Outrageous beyond words. The shame of this persistent injustice should hound Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly to the end of their days.

Don Lemon schools white conservative on racial profiling

Megan Carpentier at Raw Story reports on this encounter Saturday between CNN host Don Lemon (who is openly gay) and conservative Ben Ferguson. Lemon skewers Ferguson's presumptuousness.

July 22, 2013

Station Master


Chris Heller at Metro Weekly reviews Fruitvale Station:

Fruitvale Station, director Ryan Coogler's stunning debut, recreates Oscar Grant's last days with a sensitivity rarely seen in true-to-life drama. Coogler is unafraid -- daring, even -- to address the wounds that fester after issues of race, class, masculinity, law and order collide. It may surprise you to learn that he hasn't made an angry movie, though. His is a thoughtful tragedy, not a vicious screed. Fruitvale Station will outrage you, but it is not itself outrageous.

I myself give the movie high marks. It is a devastating story told with great skill. I share director Coogler's love of movies, and the prospect of several decades of further work from him is exciting after such a strong debut. Bravo to him and to all involved.

More than 1,000 attend Trayvon Martin rally in D.C.

Dr. E. Faye Williams at Justice for Trayvon rally, photo by Damien Salas, Washington Blade)

Michael K. Lavers of the Blade reports on Saturday's Justice for Trayvon rally, which was held at the U.S. District Court building on Constitution Avenue, which I attended. I am quoted in the article:

Rick Rosendall, president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, told the Washington Blade as he attended the D.C. rally that he feels it is important for LGBT Americans to stand in solidarity with African Americans on this issue.

"Our own community crosses every other line of diversity in this country," he said, noting NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous and Revs. Dennis and Christine Wiley of Covenant Baptist Church of Christ in Southwest D.C. and Rev. Delman Coates of Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, Md., are among those who support marriage rights for same-sex couples. "We are connected to one another inextricably, like it or not. And we damn well better stand together or we will have hell to pay."

July 19, 2013

Barkley weighs in on Zimmerman verdict

Independent Journal Review reports on the views of NBA Hall-of-Famer Charles Barkley on the Trayvon Martin case.

I love Sir Charles, but he gives far too much credence to Zimmerman's version of the story. Unfortunately, Trayvon remained entirely mute throughout the trial.

Cameroon: LGBTI Rights Activist Found Dead, Tortured


Sorry I didn't post this a few days ago. Human Rights Watch reports on a dreadful story involving the torture and murder of Cameroonian LGBTI and AIDS activist Eric Ohena Lembembe:

Lembembe’s friends discovered his body on Monday evening after being unable to reach him by telephone for two days, and went to his home. They found his front door padlocked on the outside, but could see Lembembe’s body lying on his bed through the window. Lembembe’s friends alerted the police, who broke down the door. According to one friend, Lembembe’s neck and feet appeared to have been broken, and his face, hands, and feet had been burned with an iron.

Lembembe was one of Cameroon’s most prominent LGBTI rights activists. On behalf of CAMFAIDS, he collaborated closely with Human Rights Watch and two other Cameroonian organizations, Alternatives-Cameroun and the Association for the Defense of Homosexuals (ADEFHO), in researching and launching a March 2013 report on prosecutions for consensual same-sex conduct. He also participated in drafting a submission for Cameroon’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2013 at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The sadness of the loss of brave pioneers like Mr. Lemembe is even greater than the outrage over the violence against them. In 35 years of gay rights activism, I have seldom felt my safety threatened. Of course there are anti-LGBT horrors committed in this country, most recently marked by the murder of Mark Carson in Greenwich Village and the spate of anti-transgender attacks in D.C. But the danger faced daily by our African brothers and sisters is orders of magnitude greater than that faced by most LGBT Americans. They need more support. And their persecutors are egged on by American bigots like Scott Lively.

(Hat tip: Eric Scharf)

Barack Obama: 'Trayvon Martin Could've Been Me'

A perfectly reasonable and decent statement by the President, which the morally treasonous right wing is already calling an incitement to riot. Well screw them, and thank you Mr. President.

Acquitted Development

John Oliver reacts to the Zimmerman verdict.

Mr. President: Say no to Ray Kelly for Homeland Security chief

Ta-Nehisi Coates, writing for NYT, gets it right as usual on the question of whether NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would be a good choice to replace outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. Talking on Tuesday to Univision, President Obama called Kelly, who directs New York's notorious stop-and-frisk policy, "well-qualified" and an "outstanding leader in New York." Coates writes:

The N.Y.P.D.’s stop-and-frisk program has been well-covered in this newspaper and elsewhere. It is now public knowledge that the police department, each year, stops hundreds of thousands of citizens, largely black and Latino men, for reasons as thin and subjective as “furtive movements.” Very few of those stops lead to actual charges, much less arrests, and according to the commissioner that’s fine....

The dragnet tactics don’t taper at the borders of black and brown communities. If anything, they expand. Last year, The Associated Press reported that the N.Y.P.D. has organized a network of agents and informants strictly for the purpose of spying on Muslim communities. The appropriately dubbed “Demographics Unit” has extended its reach along the Northeastern seaboard, sending informants to spy on Muslim rafting trips, mosques in Newark and Muslim organizations at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania. The Demographics Unit did not discriminate, at least among Muslims: second- and third-generation American citizens were subject to profiling. Despite this sprawling fishing expedition extending up the Atlantic coast, N.Y.P.D. officials admitted in a subsequent court case that the unit’s work had not yielded a single lead, much less the opening of an actual case.

If you agree with me and Ta-Nehisi that Ray Kelly would be an appalling choice to lead Homeland Security, please call the White House comment line at (202) 456-1111. I just called, and the wait was quite brief. A charming lady with a southern accent listened attentively and thanked me quite nicely.

July 18, 2013

Armed Intruder Who Shot Homeowner Argues 'Stand Your Ground' Defense

Think Progress reports.

This is getting surreal. Inside the victim's house, and he invokes Stand Your Ground. Wow.

John Henry Spooner convicted of murdering Darius Simmons

HuffPost reports. This incident occurred in Milwaukee last year. John Henry Spooner, without any evidence, accused 13-year-old Darius Simmons of stealing weapons from his home, then shot him at point-blank range in front of his mother. The incident was caught on Spooner's own security cameras. Spooner has been convicted of first-degree murder. The trial now moves to the second stage, to determine whether he was of sound mind when he killed Simmons. I do not like the insanity defense. If you did it, you did it. In this case, he committed a premeditated act, an act which he does not deny. He should spend the rest of his life in prison.

July 17, 2013

Anti-bullying activist takes his own life

This sad news of 17-year-old Carlos Vigil is a reminder that bullying can kill even the strongest youth. We can pass model laws, and thank goodness we have GLSEN to provide leadership and resources. But changing the expectation of student peer groups from fear and isolation to intervention against bullying has proven extremely difficult.

Kids have high-tech tools in their pockets without the wisdom to use them properly, and they act as accelerants that magnify and worsen the impact of bullying into something that can overwhelm. I remember being relieved as a youth that others were bigger targets for bullying than I; isn't that awful? But we didn't have cell phones or the Internet then, and a bullying incident was pretty much localized. As we mourn another lost child, we must keep looking for ways to stop the cruelty and the isolation.

July 15, 2013

LGBT Rights Organizations Issue Open Letter: Trayvon Deserves Justice

A coalition of national LGBT rights organizations, led by the National Black Justice Coalition and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, today issued an open letter on justice in the Trayvon Martin killing. Here is an excerpt:

Trayvon Martin deserves justice and his civil rights. We support the organizations and community leaders who are urging the federal government to explore every option to ensure that justice is served for Trayvon and that his civil rights are honored and respected. But our work does not end there: we will honor Trayvon Martin by strengthening our commitment to end bias, hatred, profiling and violence across our communities.


Trayvon Martin and the struggle for justice

Sent today to GLAA's listserve:

Greetings from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C.
http://www.glaaforum.org (blog)


The peaceful, multiracial crowds that protested the verdict in the killing of Trayvon Martin offer a hopeful sign that some Americans are heeding the better angels of their nature. But the message the verdict sends to our children—that there are two standards of justice in this country—is poisonous and reminds all of us who work for equality that we must rededicate ourselves to the difficult work of coalition building.

George Zimmerman is but the latest in a long line of people, many of them real cops, who have killed unarmed black men and boys. See this item from The Root:

Profiling is a real and terrifying reality for many Americans—as I certainly don't need to tell our transgender sisters. It will not end without a challenge or without our cooperation.

My own commentary, "Seeing Trayvon," is now online at Metro Weekly:

Our society's discussion of the issues highlighted by this case must go beyond consideration of further indictments or lawsuits against Mr. Zimmerman (analysis of which I will leave to others). We must ask how meaningful or secure our legal rights can be amid the legal sanctioning of vigilante justice.

Instead of Trayvon, the innocent victim of this unpunished crime could have been one of the students I advise, or my own fiancé. As long as prejudice and privilege cause some people to be treated as automatic suspects who can be killed with impunity, justice is a mirage. An increasingly unhinged gun culture is put in service of social division to perpetuate minority rule. The same right wing that demonizes LGBT people also devalues and disenfranchises black people, Muslims, and immigrants, and works relentlessly to control women's wombs.

Continue reading "Trayvon Martin and the struggle for justice" »