March 27, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay Md. man faces charges in hit-and-run

A gay Annapolis man faces charges in connection with an alleged hit-and-run accident that left a D.C. woman dead.

Prosecutors contend Joel Bromwell struck Ruby Whitfield with his SUV on March 21 as she and two other people were walking across Florida Avenue at the intersection of 11th Street in Northeast D.C. after attending a meeting at New Samaritan Baptist Church. The police charging document alleges Bromwell’s vehicle dragged Whitfield for “approximately 86 feet before becoming dislodged from” it.

Bromwell reportedly told police officers who took him into custody that he had just left Cobalt before the incident. The police charging document says he told them he had two Captain Morgan rum and cokes “over a period of two hours.”

Bromwell, 32, faces charges that include intent to kill another and to inflict serious bodily injury on another with a conscious disregard of an extreme risk of death or serious bodily injury to another.

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

9 Comments
  • what conversation is this article starting?
    everyone screws up?

  • Why do you have to put that he is gay? What the hell does that have to do with anything?

    • Christine Wright

      You know, I've been quite proud of "facebook". I have a number of friends who would (and do) know about this situation, but this group has been so respectful of what happened.

  • No one has, nor should have much sympathy for hit-and-run drunk drivers whose negligence causes needless disorderly, noise, property destruction, injury or death– whether they be LGBT or straight.

    That said, there is a growing question of whether or not DC’s MPD has drifted into uneven, preferential treatment and/or discriminatory policing when it comes to charging LGBT perpetrators vs. MPD’s charging of presumably straight perpetrators.

    MPD may be, de facto anyway, throwing the proverbial “book” at LGBT suspects, while treating straight suspects with a much more lenient hand. So that is a police discrimination and/or bias issue which LGBT news media should definitely be covering.

    MPD has had a number of internal anti-LGBT bias related incidents perpetrated against its own LGBT police officers– including at MPD’s NE DC 5th District station some years ago.

    That’s why it also matters when a MPD-GLLU LGBT officer is abruptly put on “no-contact” status and treated thoughtlessly by MPD while it investigates an unspecified allegation.

    Related to this story, there was a recent DRUNK and DISORDERLY HIT-&-RUN case, also in NE, in which the presumably straight perpetrator (his GF is a resident in a student group home on the street) destroyed 2 new parked cars, as well as a like-new third parked car– shortly after midnight on a Saturday night.

    No one was killed, but the damages were probably $75,000 or more, plus a whole lot of time and hassle for each of the three innocent car owners involved.

    In addition, the crashes were thunderous, explosive noise– as the drunk smashed into the cars on BOTH sides of the street– and waking up a whole block full of residents. The sound was also heard by the MPD arresting officer more than a block away.

    Yet that straight perpetrator is facing no more than a $100 fine and 30 days in jail. MPD initially failed to charge for DC’s excellent Disorderly Noise at Night law (introduced by now-Council Chairman Phil Mendelson). An MPD Lt. said it wasn’t “what Council intended” and that DC’s Office of Attorney General (OAG) would not likely want to prosecute it either.

    So in that case of the straight perpetrator, we see MPD–AND–OAG seemingly carving out an EXCEPTION to the Disorderly Noise at Night Law for a DRUNK and DISORDERLY HIT-&-RUN DRIVER who is not gay. That is unfair, uneven and discriminatory policing and prosecution by MPD and OAG.

    Council’s Judiciary and Public Safety should investigate why both MPD and OAG are ignoring DC’s Disorderly Noise at Night Code, and why there appears to be a noticeable inequality when some LGBT perpetrators are charged with crimes.

  • Pam V Longenecker

    does your sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, personal phobia or simple need to meet a word count rationalize why you, Michael K. Lavers, tossed in an unimportant and unrelated fact as the man being "gay" into this article? do you start other works with: a heterosexual man blah blah blah? seriously, Mikey, put on some big boy pants and write like a responsible reporter.

  • The guy's sexuality is totally irrelevant to the crime, why was it even mentioned?

  • Has it occurred to those of you who are jacked up that this story probably wouldn’t have appeared in THE BLADE if the defendant weren’t gay? If you’re going to read a gay paper, you should probably expect that people will often be identified as such.

  • So if the driver were gay would the headline read "straight md man faces charges in hit-and-run"? Just asking…

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