Tag Archives: hate violence

DCTC joins in Community Response to Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force

Today, DCTC joined with six other DC LGBTQ community organizations in responding to the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force report released by the Metropolitan Police Department on February 26. Taken together, the Task Force Report, MPD’s response, and the community response provide an essential starting point to improving relations between MPD and DC’s LGBTQ communities.

In the community response, we thank the Task Force for their research and findings. In general, we agree with the recommendations that the Task Force put forward. Our recommendations are designed to build upon the Task Force report by offering concrete steps that MPD and community organizations can take that, over time, will allow for positive change in how LGBTQ-police interactions occur in DC. The community response also looks beyond the issue of hate crimes to discuss response to intimate partner violence in LGBTQ relationships, interactions with LGBTQ youth, and interactions with sex workers. We look forward to engaging with MPD to begin implementing these recommendations.

Finally, the community response offers three specific recommendations to the DC Council, including:

  • Repeal Prostitution Free Zones and decriminalize sex work,
  • Strengthen the authority of the Office of Police Complaints, and
  • Hold annual hearings on marginalized community relations with MPD

UPDATE: A community forum to discuss the recommendations and next steps will be held at Casa Ruby on Wednesday, March 26, at 7:00pm. You can RSVP via facebook or by emailing vvillano@transequality.org.

To read the Community Response to the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force, please click here (pdf).

Click here to read the Report of the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force and MPD’s response (pdf).

TODAY! Trans Day of Remebrance; FRIDAY! Trans Day of Action

Trans Day of Remembrance

Today is the annual Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), observed each year on November 20 to honor the memories of those we have lost to violence and oppression. DC’s TDOR service is tonight at 6:00p.m. at the Metropolitan Community Church, located at 474 Ridge Street NW (Metro: Mt. Vernon Square). Doors open at 5:30.

DC Mayor Vince Gray and other city officials, along with members of local victims’ families, will be in attendance. There will be a special recognition of the advocates behind the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Amendment Act. For more information, contact Earline Budd at 202.388.8251.

RSVP for TDOR on Facebook.

Trans Day of Action

Casa Ruby is hosting this year’s Trans Day of Action (TDOA) is this Friday from 6:00-9:00p.m., at Next Step Public Charter School, located at 3047 15th Street NW (Metro: Columbia Heights).

The event features a community conversation on trans unemployment and homelessness, and the launch of Casa Ruby’s new “Work It” employment program. There will also be a special showcase of the new documentary TRANS. For more information, contact Ruby Corado at corado (at) casaruby.org.

RSVP for TDOA on Facebook.

We hope to see you at both events! 

 

DCTC finds evidence of bias in MPD hate crimes review

In testimony before the DC Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety today, the DC Trans Coalition notes evidence of bias in the “independent” review of hate crimes response and LGBTQ community relations that the Metropolitan Police Department commissioned from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). DCTC obtained over 1500 pages of MPD Chief Cathy Lanier’s emails pertaining to the ADL review, which was announced last year, following DCTC’s October 2011 request for confidential mediation with MPD facilitated by the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The emails obtained include this note to Chief Lanier from David Friedman, who heads the ADL’s Mid-Atlantic Office, from November 2011, when MPD claims it was beginning discussions with the ADL about establishing an “independent” hate crimes review:

On Nov 3, 2011, at 9:00 PM, “Friedman, David” wrote:

Wouldn’t worry. The only people who don’t like you have outstanding warrants.

D

From: Lanier, Cathy (MPD)
To: Friedman, David
Subject: Re: Staying in your post
Date: Thursday, November 03, 2011 9:03:58 PM

That David, is one of the many reasons I love you…. So quick

Cathy L. Lanier
Chief of Police
Washington, D.C.

Other emails obtained show that Chief Lanier was asked to approve potential members of the ADL-led review team, which consists of four other national civil rights organizations and two academics. In our testimony today, we note:

In short, the ADL hate crimes review task force has proven itself to be both insufficient to address community concerns, and blatantly biased against us. We do not relish conflict between our communities and MPD. Yet, due to a persistent failure to listen openly to our concerns, conflict persists, and the day to day lives of trans people in DC are endangered as a result. Our concern is that the ADL-led task force is a publicity stunt rather than a good-faith effort at making progress.

We once again encourage MPD to accept our offer of confidential mediation through the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service.

Other topics included in today’s testimony include:

  • Progress towards eliminating the use of condoms as evidence in sex work cases,
  • A request on the status of the grant MPD received from Harvard University in 2006 to expand the work of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit,
  • Ongoing issues in implementing MPD’s general order on interactions with trans people,
  • MPD’s inability to relay information about trans detainees to the U.S. Marshal’s Service, and
  • A request on the status of the suspended “prostitution-free” zones.

Our full testimony is available here.

Sentencing of MPD Officer Furr Devalues Trans Lives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2013
Contact:
Jason Terry or Elijah Edelman: 202.681.3282 / dctc@dctranscoalition.org

Sentencing of MPD Officer Furr Devalues Trans Lives

If roles were reversed, outcome would have been drastically different

Washington, DC – Community members expressed outrage at the sentencing of Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kenneth Furr, who was released from prison today after convictions of assault with a deadly weapon and soliciting prostitution. In August of 2011, a group that included black trans women and gay men confronted Furr after he harassed one of them for refusing his sexual advances. Furr consequently shot at the individuals involved, wounding several of them. Because the judge suspended 46 months of the 60 month sentence, Furr left jail having already served the remaining 14 months.

“This result is the product of a legal system that constantly devalues trans people’s lives,” said DC Trans Coalition member Jason Terry. “Officer Furr’s defense team actively sought to portray the victims as somehow deserving of this violence, and apparently they succeeded. If roles had been reversed and a trans woman had gotten drunk and flashed a gun at a police officer, the results would be drastically different.” It is important to note that Furr was convicted only of flashing a weapon at two gay men involved in the incident, not for shooting at the trans women and others involved.

Several studies document deep levels of mistrust toward police in trans communities. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 46% of trans people are reluctant to call police when they need police services. The Move Along study here in DC noted that 78% of respondents feared the police. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has found that transgender people of color are nearly two and a half times more likely to face violence from police officers than other lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and trans white people. DCTC’s own needs assessment found in its first phase that safety and risk is a paramount concern. DCTC expects that the results of our survey phase will reinforce these other findings.

“Officer Furr exemplifies why this fear exists,” said Terry. “DC’s trans communities face blatant discrimination, harassment, and violence from police officers every day, yet when an officer drunkenly shoots at trans people, accountability seems to disappear.”

####

The DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) is a volunteer, grassroots, community-based organization dedicated to fighting for human rights, dignity, and liberation for transsexual, transgender and gender-diverse people in the District of Columbia. To learn more, please visit our website at http://www.dctranscoalition.org. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

DCTC and GLOV submit statements for U.S. Senate Hate Crimes Hearing

The U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing today on hate crimes in the United States, following a call to action from a broad coalition of social justice and LGBT organizations after the anti-Sikh attack in Oak Creek, Wisconsin earlier this summer. Many of these organizations submitted statements for the record articulating how hate crimes impact their respective communities, and the role of the federal government in preventing and responding to these acts of violence.

We teamed up with our friends at GLOV and submitted statements about how hate crimes affect trans and LGB people living in DC. You can read DCTC’s statement here, along with GLOV’s statement here. Both organizations, along with the Rainbow Response Coalition, are DC members of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

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.

You can read our full statement here. Be sure to also check out the statements from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance and GLOV (testimony and graphs).

DCTC Denounces Ongoing Violence against Trans and LGB People

In response to the past week’s string of attacks on members of DC’s LGBT communities, the DC Trans Coalition releases the following statement:

The DC Trans Coalition condemns the recent assault on a transgender woman on West Virginia Ave, NE and the two separate assaults on gay men in the greater Columbia Heights area. We note, with increasing frustration, that these are just the latest incidents in a long history of violence against transgender and LGB people in our city, particularly young transgender women of color. We are stunned that some media coverage and community responses are sidelining the attack on the transgender woman – perhaps in part because of the Metropolitan Police Department’s refusal to classify the attack as a hate crime, despite the victim’s own statements.

While the attacks on both gay men have been classified as bias crimes, MPD has refused to classify the assault on the transgender woman as a bias-related crime because she was beaten so badly as to be knocked unconscious and, as a result, has hazy memories of her assault. The police department has also regularly refused to take responsibility for preventing and solving anti-trans crimes (as we discuss here). Rather than advocate for safer conditions for trans people, Chief Cathy Lanier and other police officials have recently said, on several occasions, that members of the trans community are responsible for avoiding “situations where they might be harmed.” This kind of blatant victim-blaming demonstrates deep misunderstanding of the pervasive anti-trans discrimination found throughout our city.

We request that Mayor Gray, the MPD, the media and even members of lesbian, gay and bisexual communities in DC to give equal support and visibility to all three victims of the recent attacks and to come together to seriously address the ongoing anti-trans, and now anti-gay, violence in Washington, DC.