Today’s DC Council Hearing on Hate Crimes
DCTC joined with other local LGBT organizations to testify before the DC Council’s Judiciary Committee today on hate crimes and police response. In our testimony, we stressed that in order for the Metropolitan Police Department to be able to appropriately address anti-trans violence in DC, the following steps need to be taken:
- Addressing biased policing: There needs to be a new, comprehensive study of police bias; and trans community members need a seat at the table of MPD’s reconstituted Biased Policing Task Force.
- Expanding training efforts: Every officer needs to be trained in how to appropriately interact with trans people; the existing training program for affiliate officers of the MPD Special Liaison Units needs to be institutionalized; and MPD must also ensure that training extends more broadly throughout the police department.
- Strengthening communication and engagement with the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit: MPD’s LGBT Critical Incident Team, convened by GLLU, is currently used ineffectively; in addition, MPD communication out to the Critical Incident Team when violent crimes occur must be far more rapid.
- Resolving open homicide cases: A joint MPD-community outreach plan to address the seven open trans homicides seems to have stalled, and needs to be translated into a concrete plan of action; and, in general, trans communities deserve an update on the status of these investigations, including where the roadblocks may be, so that we might be able to assist in bringing these cases to closure.
Additionally, we welcomed MPD’s new hate crimes review panel, convened by the Anti-Defamation League, but noted our dismay that there does not seem to be much room for local voices to be heard in the process. We also congratulated the Gray administration for its efforts to reduce anti-trans violence through initiatives around employment and youth bullying.