August 27, 2010 | by Peter Rosenstein
Locals demand Fenty action on hate crimes

About 100 people showed up at the DC Center Thursday night to discuss the violence against the LGBT community and to remember those who have been killed in violent hate attacks in recent years.

About 10 organizations representing members of the Latino community, along with the Transgender Coalition, Stein Club and GLOV introduced a letter they agreed to send to Mayor Adrian Fenty demanding that he reconstitute the Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit with a full compliment of members and a sergeant who will report directly to Chief Cathy Lanier.

Fenty said he would not tamper with the unit when he ran for mayor the first time but since then, many in the community believe that the GLLU has been rendered ineffective by the changes Lanier has made to it.

In the last two months there have been nine incidents of violence against the community ranging from robberies to a beating to a murder. The speakers all thanked the officers still working with the GLLU for their efforts but said that they don’t have the ability to
influence the MPD’s response to violence against the community in the same way the award-winning unit had at its height.

A speaker told of a police officer coming to his home in response to a 911 call and ending up calling him names instead of reporting the incident. He is still trying to get a response from the MPD on the incident. A woman told of calling 911 after she was followed home by a group of teenagers who called her names and threatened her and the police told her there was nothing they could do even after they identified the leader of the group. She asked, “Do I have to be killed before I can get any action?”

This broad coalition of LGBT organizations has committed to work together to get something done and to insist that the mayor respond to the needs of the community. I was surprised at the strong positive response I got when I suggested that in today’s climate we may need to take to the streets or stage a sit-in at the mayor’s office to get the attention this crisis deserves. Everyone agreed we cannot simply stand by while members of our community are being attacked and killed.

In an interview in the Blade today, Council Chair Vince Gray, who is running for mayor, committed to reinstating the full complement of the GLLU if elected mayor. He stated that contrary to the current mayor who said he will leave this up to the police chief, “I think that people expect people in the mayoral position, the Council chair position, to have positions on these issues and then work to see that they are implemented.”

2 Comments
  • Fenty and Gray are only TWO of the responsible controlling parties here. THE ENTIRE Group of DC City Council Members are The CEOs, The Ultimate Bosses, the Top Controlling Entity of the City.

    Each and every Councilman is Responsible For, and have the Power To, Make and Enforce All Policy and Procedure. This is fact. Their action(s), and in this case, their in-action(s) to protect a specifically targeted group from a rash of violence is becoming increasingly troubling.

    Gray, in his campaign for the Mayorship, claims the status of having been a “Huge Supporter”, and making conciliatory promises of FUTURE support of LGBT citizens, yet he AND ALL OTHER Council Candidates must be evaluated on their RECORDS, not on their Campaign Promises of what they say they ‘will do’ in the future IF we will just elect them to highly paid office first.

    Well I say first things first. One must show credentials in order to be hired for any job. Show me what you ARE ALREADY DOING to PROTECT LGBT CITIZENS Right Now During this rash of violence targeted at us. IF the record shows that each and every Council Member is currently taking No Action, then there must be No Vote for them. To Hell with their ‘promises’. We must hold them accountable for their RECORDS.

    What Exactly is Gray doing Right Now to Stop the Violence. The best predictor of Future Conduct is ones Previous Conduct. Nothing Now will mean Nothing Later.

    Vote Accordingly.

  • Well we know Fenty has done nothing even though the Police Chief reports to him. He has refused to even utter the words hate crimes for 31/2 years while our community has suffered repeated attacks. 9 in the last two months. Vince Gray and the Council don’t control the police department, the Mayor does. Gray has authored and passed a resolution condemming hate crimes and has at least spoken out on them. He has called for and seen that a hearing on the issue has been held. He has said contrary to the current Mayor who says all this is up to the police chief, that as Mayor Gray he will instruct his police chief on the policies of his administration. Gray has taken the time to meet with GLOV and the Rainbow Response Coaltion, and members of the LGBT community to discuss these issues. Fenty in his 31/2 years as Mayor had one meeting with GLOV and restricted that meeting to two people and refused to meet with the rest of GLOV’s members or the community.

    I agree the best predictor of future conduct is what someone has done and Gray, even as a member of the Council, has done more than Fenty who is the Mayor. So yes- Vote Accordingly, Gray for Mayor!

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