August 6, 2014 at 8:48 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Captain of gay police unit accused of harassment
Edward Delgado, MPD, Metropolitan Police Department, gay news, Washington Blade

Capt. Edward Delgado, who heads the GLLU, is accused of referring to gay officer Justin Markiewicz as ‘Justine.’ (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The supervisor of the D.C. police department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit has filed an internal police complaint accusing the captain in charge of the unit with repeatedly addressing a gay male officer assigned to the GLLU by using a female version of his name.

According to sources familiar with the development, who spoke on condition of anonymity, GLLU Sgt. Matthew Mahl filed the complaint against Capt. Edward Delgado with the department’s Internal Affairs Division on behalf of GLLU Officer Justin Markiewicz.

The sources say the complaint accuses Delgado of addressing Markiewicz as “Justine” repeatedly in face-to-face conversations and in at least four separate emails, copies of which have been obtained by the Washington Blade.

Among the recipients of one of the emails in which Delgado addressed Markiewicz as “Justine,” which was transmitted on Jan. 13, 2012, were Deputy D.C. Police Chief Diane Groomes and former GLLU supervisor Sgt. Carlos Mejia.

Mahl and Markiewicz, when contacted this week by the Blade, declined to comment, saying they are required to refer all media inquiries to the department’s public information office.

Gwendolyn Crump, director of the Public Information Office, said she too was not authorized to comment on the matter.

“This is a personnel matter that is being investigated by the MPD’s Internal Affairs Division,” she said in an email. “I cannot comment further at this time.”

The sources said Mahl filed the complaint with Internal Affairs on July 29 after Markiewicz confided in him that he was troubled and under stress over Delgado’s alleged repeated references to him using a female name. Markiewicz reportedly considered Delgado’s action derogatory, demeaning and a form of harassment based on his sexual orientation, the sources said.

Mahl reportedly felt duty bound to file the complaint, which requires Internal Affairs to open an investigation, based on a longstanding MPD policy that requires both police officials and rank-and-file officers to report all instances of possible “improper conduct” committed by a member of the police force within two hours of learning about such conduct, one of the sources said.

Delgado serves as commander of the Special Liaison Division, which oversees the GLLU and three other police liaison units – the Latino Liaison Unit, the Asian and Pacific Islander Liaison Unit and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Unit.

In addition to the Jan. 13, 2012 email, the complaint filed by Mahl includes copies of emails dated Sept. 20, 2012; June 6, 2014; and July 7, 2014, according to the sources. In each of those emails Delgado refers to Markiewicz as “Justine.”

The July 7, 2014 email has a subject heading that states, “RE: Sixth District Listserv Message PROSTITUTION, DISORDERLY CONDUCT, AND PUBLIC NUISANCES ON EASTERN AVE, NE. It goes on to state, “Flag for follow up” and adds, “Justine…please ensure that we stay on top of this.”

The June 6 email message by Delgado was a response to an email from Markiewicz to him with the subject heading, “Pride photo.” A photo embedded in the email has a caption saying, “Group photo from La Fiesta Latino Dance Party. This has been a very successful pride thus far!”

Delgado’s response states, “Thanks Justine.”

Paul Tupper, chair of the local group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), which works with the GLLU and MPD officials to help curtail anti-LGBT violence, including hate crimes, said he has no direct knowledge about the complaint filed against Delgado.

“Although GLOV is not familiar with the particulars of this complaint it serves as a reminder that if any members of the LGBT community have concerns about a member of the MPD force, they should report it, and that includes those within the MPD,” Tupper told the Blade.

Chris Farris, a former GLOV co-chair, said he has had dealings with Delgado over a period of several years and the nature of the complaint filed against him came as a surprise.

“I’ve always found him to be a pretty open and approachable person,” Farris said. “I’ve never had any reason to believe he was homophobic. But I will also tell you that Justin is a great person. He’s a very valuable asset to the GLLU,” said Farris, who added, “And so I would also have no reason to believe that he wouldn’t be telling the truth.”

Farris called on the department to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the complaint and to report its findings to the public.

Two other LGBT activists who have had dealings with Delgado, and who spoke on condition that they are not identified, shared Farris’s assessment, saying they were caught by surprise over the complaint.

But the sources familiar with the complaint say that Delgado’s persistent references to Markiewicz as “Justine” could be viewed as a form of workplace harassment that has the potential of harming the overall effectiveness of the GLLU.

They said the matter was especially troubling for Mahl, prompting him to file a separate police incident report on Delgado’s alleged action toward Markiewicz that is part of the department’s public records.

The report, however, refers to Delgado and Markiewicz only by their initials. It lists the incidents as “anti-male homosexual (gay)” in nature and describes them as “demeaning and harassing language.”

The complaint filed by Mahl with the Internal Affairs Division and the incident report come at a time when most LGBT activists say relations between the LGBT community and the MPD have improved significantly over the past several years.

At a town hall meeting earlier this year organized jointly by MPD and the LGBT community that focused on transgender issues, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the department continues to improve its longstanding policies and procedures calling for treating LGBT people with respect and for thoroughly investigating crimes committed against members of the LGBT community.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • brians ions

    At a town hall meeting earlier this year organized jointly by MPD and the LGBT community that focused on transgender issues, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said the department continues to improve its longstanding policies and procedures calling for treating LGBT people with respect and for thoroughly investigating crimes committed against members of the LGBT community. –Blade
    ============================================================================
    Also noting and giving credit where credit is due…
     
    The Chief’s city-wide appeal for community help in mid-June regarding armed robberies of trans women on and around Eastern Ave in 6D was a noticeable change at MPD, too. The Chief’s efforts to implement ADL’s Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force appear to be serious.
     
    Especially when there’s a cluster of similar crimes, Public Information, transparency and frequent police/ community interaction is always a good thing. More, please.

  • Alan Thompson

    While I am not familiar with the particulars of this specific situation, I have always found Sargent Mahl and Officer Markiewicz to be extraordinarily helpful and concerned whether it was taking care of drivers who had inadvertently started driving through closed off streets during large street festivals and preventing participants from being injured to helping block off traffic while setting up for large parades (with someone like me who does not have that kind of experience). In any and all cases both Sargent Mahl and Officer Markiewicz were extraordinarily professional and always treated me and those around me with the utmost courtesy and respect and dealt with those around me in exactly the same manner regardless of how chaotic the situation appeared to me. I have great respect for both of them.

  • brians ions

    continuing…
    ===========
    The sources say the complaint accuses Delgado of addressing Markiewicz as “Justine” repeatedly in face-to-face conversations and in at least four separate emails, copies of which have been obtained by the Washington Blade.
     
    Among the recipients of one of the emails in which Delgado addressed Markiewicz as “Justine,” which was transmitted on Jan. 13, 2012, were Deputy D.C. Police Chief Diane Groomes and former GLLU supervisor Sgt. Carlos Mejia.
    ==============================================================
     
    Regarding this shocking report, that Assistant Chief Groomes was reportedly included in one or more emails is extremely troubling.
     
    A/C Groomes has been especially watchful of the GLLU unit in recent years. If she new of such conduct — even one occurrence — and did not take action to stop it, we need to know why.
     
    MPD commanders should be protecting LGBT officers under their command.

  • brians ions

    One of the reasons this report is so troubling, is that MPD management has a history of retaliating against its officers.
     
    MPD’s past history of diluting GLLU’s core unit should remain a concern of all of us, since officers who have left the unit have not always been replaced.
     
    Moreover, cutting GLLU’s core strength by attrition is still another means of effectively cutting GLUU’s core unit. Making officers feel so uncomfortable that they would want to leave the unit, might be a ‘backdoor’ way to accomplish that.
     
    I encourage everyone to take a look at the DC Police Union website. And regarding MPD retaliation, just GOOGLE…
     
    “dc police union mpd retaliation”

  • Some police departments are sick sadistic bloodthirsty brutal evil violent criminal gangs. Some police departments have sick sadistic bloodthirsty brutal evil violent criminals within their ranks.

    There is nothing worse than a bad cop. What other shenanigans is gay-bashing bully up to? He is probably a child abuser, a rapist, and a murderer, and very good at covering up and getting away with his brutal heinous crimes.

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