April 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Cars defaced with anti-gay slurs near National Cathedral

At least two cars belonging to residents in the Cleveland Park section of Northwest Washington near the National Cathedral were defaced on April 3 with anti-gay “hate based language written upon them,” D.C. police said in a statement.

Sgt. Carlos Mejia, supervisor of the police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, said Second District officers responding to the incident called the GLLU to help in the investigation.

“We were on the scene,” he said.

Police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said police officers responded to a call to the 3200 block of Cathedral Ave., N.W., where they found three cars defaced with writing scrawled on them from what appeared to be a pen. She said the writing on two of the cars consisted of anti-gay hate messages.

She said the third car had writing along with some illegible words that did not constitute a bias or hate-related message.

Capt. Edward Delgado, who oversees the department’s special liaison units, including the GLLU, said the owners of the cars subjected to the defacing told police they were not members of the LGBT community. He said police would not immediately release the exact wording of the anti-gay messages on the cars because doing so could hurt the investigation.

Police said anyone with information about the case is asked to call the department at 202-272-9099 or the department’s anonymous information line at 1-866-411-TIPS. Callers providing information leading to an arrest and indictment are eligible for an award up to $1,000.

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

1 Comment
  • It is noteworthy and disappointing that MPD did not publish its OWN press release regarding this incident to its other MPD district listservs, citywide.

    This hate crimes incident was published (by Asst. Chief Diane Groomes) only to MPD’s SLU listserv, with a relatively new, small membership consisting of LGBT and other SLU-served (MPD Special Liaison Units) minorities.

    Strangely, when I attempted to cross-post that MPD press release, verbatim, without commentary, to our local area district MPD listservs, the 5D and 4D lists, my cross-posts were denied . Apparently, in some MPDs censors’ minds, only LGBT people would have knowledge of crimes perpetrated against LGBT people.

    Accordingly, the growing perception that MPD wishes to keep information regarding reports of LGBT hate/ bias-related crimes away from the public, at large– outside of the LGBT community– continues, and is well-founded.

    If MPD cares enough about hate/ bias-related crimes to report them on their SLU listserv, they should do so on their district listservs, as well. Using the MPD-SLU listserv as a kind of closet for LGBT hate crimes information– smacks of carefully managed news.

    And to what purpose? It does not build credibility that MPD districts are being better trained and informed of LGBT hate crimes.

    SIDEBAR– re. a similar auto/ property destruction incident in 5D…
    Last week, in the Fifth District, apparently singled out by perpetrator(s), a NE H Street resident had his tires slashed.

    Having called 911 for police presence/ response to no avail, numerous times BEFORE this crime, the victim chose to post an “alert” to the Fifth District police on MPD’s 5D listserv.

    The responses this VICTIM’s MPD-5D listserv thread received from a number of MPD officials, including Chief Lanier and Cmdr. Solberg, as well as the Mayor Gray’s own (EOM) liaison to Ward 5 (Carl Thomas) was also disappointing.

    These official responses chose to concentrate on “process”– the victim’s failure to call 911, that is. Those listserv comments– by DC government officials– showed no empathy, nor concern for the victim and crime itself.

    Moreover, as had been previous practice by (now) Asst. Chief Lamar Greene, our former 5D Commander, MPD officials offered no public assurance that the tire slashing, would be followed up by MPD officers (with perhaps some increased attention for his block, the victim has sought in the past).

    These official responses on the 5D listserv left an unfortunate impression– intentional or not– to some, I’m sure:

    If you complain about MPD, and don’t complain in precisely the right way, MPD doesn’t care and may not protect you.


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