Tag Archives: hate violence

DCTC joins in LGBTQ Report Card on MPD

Today we join six colleague organizations in a new LGBTQ Report Card on the Status of Metropolitan Police Department Implementation of Recommendations from the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force and Community Response. A year ago, MPD released the findings of its independent Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force, along with the Department’s response. We issued our own joint response to those reports, and now we report on progress made thus far in what is expected to be a long and far-reaching process of transforming relationships between MPD and LGBTQ populations in DC.

The Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) and Affiliate Officer ProgramB_vagckVEAATyeP
Earlier this month, Sgt. Jessica Hawkins took over the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit on a full-time basis. She is the first openly trans person to hold this role, and we look forward to working with her. That said, we are concerned that GLLU officers are now regularly detailed to ordinary patrol duties throughout the city. This dramatically reduces the unit’s capacity to engage in proactive outreach and relationship building, especially among trans populations. The affiliate liaison officer program, aimed at expanding capacities for all MPD Special Liaison Units, will resume recruiting later this year, using a refined selection process and a new approach to training.

LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training
MPD has committed to training all its personnel on LGBTQ cultural competency in calendar year 2015, and we expect classes to begin soon. Though the training development process has not always been smooth, we appreciate the opportunity to work together to create a quality product for officers and sergeants, which will soon be adapted for detectives and lieutenants and above. Quality control will be important to monitor throughout the year, and we encourage MPD to use the results of a training post-test to follow up with individual officers who may not perform well in training. Though community voices are included via video in the current module, we continue to look for ways to include community members most impacted by violence and negative police interactions, especially trans women of color and youth, in the training program.

Interactions with Trans Communities
Last year’s reports noted an urgent need for MPD to build trust with members of trans communities. We appreciate Chief Cathy Lanier’s participation in Transgender Day of Remembrance last year, as well as a town hall discussion last summer. That said, GLLU’s diminished capacity in recent months has negatively impacted this relationship building effort. It is imperative that MPD officers at all levels be accessible to trans communities and be visible at trans-serving organizations. Undoing years of mistrust will take a long-term, concentrated, proactive effort to establish new relationships. The Chief cannot do this alone. Ultimately trans communities need to see a shift in interactions on the street and believe that their needs are taken seriously when they request police service.

Hate Crime Data Collection, Training, and Policy
Training on hate crime response is included in MPD’s overall training effort this year. We continue to receive reports of officers refusing to mark reports as possible hate crimes until a supervisor or GLLU is involved, so we need to see greater respect given towards those reporting hate violence to ensure that these cases are properly reported and investigated. We are also working with MPD to find ways to better track violence against trans populations.

Intimate Partner Violence Training, Response, and Reporting
Appropriate response to violence within LGBTQ relationships is included in this year’s training module. We continue to review whether or not policy changes are required, and are hopeful that we can begin to collect better data on these cases as well, while respecting the privacy of those involved.

Interactions with Sex Workers
Finally, we appreciate the Council’s quick work last year to repeal the unconstitutional and inherently biased Prostitution Free Zones. While we have engaged in initial conversations with MPD on changes its approach to sex work policing, more work remains to be done.

Share your story with police ON FILM! October 29 at Casa Ruby

Late this summer, Sgt. Matthew Mahl in the Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) requested volunteers from D.C.’s trans communities to record videos to be included in the department’s new trans training program. As a reminder, earlier this year the Anti-Defamation League released a report critical of MPD interactions with trans residents. One MPD response to this report was a commitment to overhaul their trans-related training and re-train all 4,000 MPD officers by the end of 2015.

It’s not possible to have community volunteers at every training session, but it is important that trans voices are a visible and prominent part of the training. MPD would like to record videos of D.C. trans residents sharing their personal experiences, particularly their experiences with MPD officers. Experiences can be positive or negative, and the goal is to help officers in the training to understand what it’s like to be trans in DC.

Join us on Wednesday, October 29, 3-7pm at Casa Ruby (2822 Georgia Ave NW) to share your story of interactions with police. We will have opportunities for individual interviews, as well as a group discussion beginning around 4pm. Please come and share your stories of police encounters: the good, the bad, and the horrifying. It’s important that we let police officers know exactly how trans people are currently treated, and what we want to see done differently.

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP to dctranscoalition@gmail.com. Also, share this message widely with your friends! DCTC will provide up to $5 to cover your transportation costs to attend, along with refreshments during the event.

P.S. The DC Council is also collecting stories of people’s experiences with police at a hearing on October 27. For more info, or to share your story, drop us a note! Check out Casa Ruby’s testimony from the first round of the hearing here.

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.


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.