- Congress sends sweeping defense bill to Obama
- Multiple injuries as balcony collapses at London’s Apollo theatre during performance
- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
D.C. cops feckless on bias crimes, gays say
Question of the Day
Leaders of D.C. lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups say there is an "obvious disconnect" between the Metropolitan Police Department's public condemnation of hate crimes and actual concern on the beat.
They told the council's Committee on Public Safety and the Judiciary on Wednesday there is a feeling of isolation from MPD efforts to combat crimes motivated by bias.
The sentiment is especially strong among transgendered residents, who are "assumed to be prostitutes" by some officers, according to Jason Terry, an organizer of the D.C. Trans Coalition.
Other witnesses from the LGBT groups said reports are dissuaded or handled improperly, or the victim is labeled the aggressor after a bias-related scuffle.
"Empty promises in some areas - and complete lack of action in others - are unconstructive in solving the problem at best, and are sacrificing the safety of D.C. residents at worst," said A.J. Singletary, a member of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence.
Council member Phil Mendelson, at-large Democrat, called the hearing to explore whether the department has been effective in its response to hate crimes. It was the committee's third hearing on the subject, and its first since November 2009.
Crimes relating to sexual orientation or gender identity jumped from 35 in 2009 to 45 in 2010, according to the MPD's 2010 annual report on bias-related crimes.
MPD Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she was "shocked" and "hurt" by complaints from the LGBT community, noting she regularly attends community meetings and has met personally with residents affected by bias crimes.
At the chairman's suggestion, Chief Lanier committed to meeting with stakeholders in the LGBT community multiple times over the next few months.
The 2010 report showed incidents of all bias crimes increased 66 percent from 2009 to 2010. There has been a 36 percent increase in the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2010.
"There are unfortunately a number of reasons why people commit crimes based on hate," Mr. Mendelson said.
Most notably, race-related crimes spiked from two in 2009 to 14 in 2010.
Chief Lanier said racial crimes were particularly targeted at Hispanics and whites, and may be a result of friction caused by gentrification and new residents moving into established neighborhoods.
Mr. Mendelson said MPD's efforts may have prompted the spike in numbers, because more incidents are reported.
"That has to account for some it," Chief Lanier said. "How much of it, I don't know. I don't know that you'll ever be able to answer that."
She said some of the disappointment from LGBT groups might stem from the decentralization of a police department gay and lesbian liaison unit that had garnered praise. She said MPD has actually broadened its efforts citywide, training 124 "affiliate officers" in "diverse communities, their particular issues, and how best to serve them."
Mr. Mendelson noted there is no good data on what happens after an arrest and charge for a hate crime; specifically, whether the defendant is convicted.
"I think that would be helpful," Mr. Mendelson said.
In other testimony, D.C. police union leader Kristopher Baumann said the MPD has been ineffective in combating bias crimes and "homophobia" within its own ranks.
Mr. Baumann, who is frequently critical of MPD leadership, also used the opportunity to also take on Mr. Mendelson, saying he has "blindly supported this administration at every turn" at the expense of rank-and-file officers.
Mr. Mendelson said he stands by previous comments on the subject, noting there appears to be a commitment from Chief Lanier to fight bias crimes, but inconsistencies on the street.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Tom Howell Jr. covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- White House warns Americans of GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare
- Sebelius adds yet another exemption for Obamacare
- White House hits back at Republicans and tallies up Obamacare benefits
- Fake sign language interpreter from Mandela memorial admitted to psych ward
- Florida Dem senator defends NSA snooping efforts
Latest Blog Entries
- D.C. to tout Obamacare among youth waiting for Air Jordans
- Sen. John Thune: Congress will restore military-retiree cuts when it gets back from holidays
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Uninsured Americans just as skeptical of Obamacare as those who have coverage
- Sen. Saxby Chambliss: Americans just aren't keen on Obamacare
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Huge backlash mounts over suspension of 'Duck Dynasty' star Phil Robertson
- PRUDEN: 'Tis the season for apologies
- EDITORIAL: Red faces at the White House
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- UHLER and FERRARA: Obamacare, the end of the progressive era
- Sebelius adds yet another exemption for Obamacare
- Breaking Bad: Alligators becoming the new pit bulls for drug dealers, cops say
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow