This past Tuesday, DCTC members attended an Open House with the Metropolitan Police Department, hosted by the Mayor’s Office on GLBT Affairs, to discuss recent changes in their Special Liason Units (see here for more details on the changes to the SLUs). A large number of individuals and representatives from a variety of LGBT organizations attended, and the atmosphere of the meeting was largely antagonistic. Community members raised well-founded concerns regarding the new model for the SLUs and voiced some of their own difficulties when interacting with openly homophobic/transphobic police officers. In DCTC’s view, most of our questions were met with insufficient and vague responses, with little firm commitment to address or respond to our concerns.
We are left wondering whether replacing GLLU with a 3-day, optional training for a few dozen field officers is indeed actually an “expansion” of the GLLU (as MPD claims) or a means of decreasing what little community accountability exists within MPD. Specifically, DCTC and our allies are worried that MPD is not training their officers in how to deal with trans people. When asked how the new GLLU-model will address these problems in the larger MPD, Assistant Chief Diane Groomes (who represented MPD at the meeting) did not offer any concrete plans to address the issue of rampant harassment of trans women by MPD officers. Most community members in attendance seemed to agree that the new model of GLLU could make it more difficult to report instances of hate violence, whether perpetrated by MPD or from others.
Stay tuned for more info in our ongoing campaign to hold police accountable and decrease State-sanctioned violence against trans and gender nonconforming people in DC!