Tag Archives: police

Take action to fight discriminatory policing! #RepealPFZs

We know that many in our communities have turned to informal economies, including engaging in sex work, to support themselves. Sex workers have long been subject to police violence and harassment. Since 2006, the Chief of DC’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has had the power to designate any public space in DC as a prostitution free zone (PFZ). In a PFZ, the police can tell anyone to leave the area or face arrest, without any concrete basis for suspicion. That’s a recipe for police profiling, and it’s time to put PFZs to an end.

We opposed PFZs when they were first introduced, and now the DC Council is considering legislation to repeal this harmful and discriminatory law, that DC’s own Attorney General has determined is unconstitutional and indefensible. On Wednesday, June 9, at 11am, the DC Council’s Judiciary Committee will be considering the repeal measure. You can follow the hearing live online. Be sure to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #RepealPFZs.

Most importantly, DC Council members need to hear from you to support PFZ repeal. We especially need to reach Council members Jack Evans (Ward 2), Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), and Anita Bonds (At-large). Please take a quick moment to email these Council members to voice your support for ending PFZs in DC. Just copy and paste the message below!
I am writing today in support of Bill B20-760 co-introduced by Councilmembers Grosso, Catania, and Cheh and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Wells and Barry, which would repeal the discriminatory Prostitution Free Zones provision from the D.C. Code. 
 
Prostitution free zones promote the unfair profiling of DC's most vulnerable communities and create an atmosphere of mistrust toward the Metropolitan Police Department. Repealing this law will assist with the process of repairing relations between DC's trans communities and the police, and open the door for more meaningful conversation about issues related to sex work.
This bill is an essential first step in achieving our broader goal of decriminalizing sex work in DC. Your voice is essential to make sure we’re successful. And if you’d like to share your experience with PFZs or biased policing, please just reply to this email and we’ll be in touch ASAP.

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).

This Sunday! Panel on Policing Sex in DC

Friends, activists and community members! Please join us for a panel discussion this Sunday, November 24, at the American Studies Association Conference on the issue of Policing Sex in DC! Our goals for the panel include talking about how sex/sexuality is policed in DC, including but not limited to: sex work, trans feminine bodies, black and other bodies of color, queer bodies, pathologization and HIV/AIDS and so on.

This event is FREE and OPEN to the public and will be an opportunity to talk about the issues of policing sex, sexuality, HIV/AIDS, trans and queer folks in Washington, DC. The panel will be from 12:00pm to 1:45pm at the Washington Hilton (1919 Connecticut Ave NW) in the Fairchild West on the Terrace level. If you need help with accessing the event, please contact Elijah Edelman (elijah.edelman (at) gmail.com). We will have bus tokens and metro cards available!

Panel Details

Activist Responses to the Policing of Sex in DC

Sunday, November 24, 12:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Washington Hilton, F1 – Fairchild West (T)

CHAIR: Elijah Adiv Edelman, American University (DC)

PANELISTS:

  • Ruby Corado, Casa Ruby and Latinos en Acción (DC)
  • Debbie McMillan, Helping Individual People Survive, HIPS (DC)
  • Jason Terry, DC Trans Coalition (DC)
  • Meredith Zoltick, Andromeda Transcultural Health (DC)

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.

We’re coming closer to you!

We wanted to make sure you were aware that we’re making a bit of a change to our regular meeting pattern. Hearkening back to our guiding principles, we want to increase our accountability to the communities we serve, expand people’s access to our advocacy, and empower new super-awesome activist volunteers. To do that, we’re moving our meetings.

We will continue to meet on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 7:30pm, but now we’re bringing the meeting to you! On the first Tuesday, we’ll meet at Casa Ruby, located at 2822 Georgia Avenue NW. On the third Tuesday, we’ll be at Transgender Health Empowerment, 1414 North Capitol Street NW. And if you need a reminder, just keep your eye on the info bar to your right.

In addition to meeting you where you’re at, we’ll be regularly engaging in activist lunches on Fridays at both Transgender Health Empowerment and Casa Ruby to help people new to grassroots organizing build and share their skills. And from time to time we’ll have new volunteer orientation alongside our regular meetings.

We hope to see so many more of your beautiful faces at one of our upcoming meetings!

Now for a few updates:

  • You can still participate in our Needs Assessment! Click here to learn how to take the survey or to donate generously of your time or treasure.
  • We’re continuing our work to keep the Metropolitan Police Department accountable. You can make your voice heard at an open house for MPD’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit on Thursday, September 27 from 5-9pm, right off of Dupont Circle.
  • It’s time to start planning for the Transgender Day of Remembrance! If you’d like to get involved, there’s a meeting tonight at Transgender Health Empowerment at 6:00pm (conveniently right before our first meeting at THE!).

See you soon!