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7 officers could be fired over anti-lesbian attack

D.C. police refused to take report after incident



D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier told LGBT activists that as many as seven police officers could be fired for refusing to take a report for a hate-related attack against five lesbians on July 30 near the Columbia Heights Metro station.

In a private meeting on Aug. 4 with officials of the local group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, Lanier called the conduct by the officers “lazy policing,” according A.J. Singletary, the group’s chair.

“She said they’re going to be doing a thorough investigation but that type of offense can be punishable by termination,” Singletary quoted Lanier as saying. “So she laid it on the table that it’s possible that they may be fired. That depends on what the investigation determines,” he said.

Two of the five victims in the attack told the Blade that a man repeatedly called the women “dyke bitches” before he and another man punched each of them in the face and body. The women said the anti-lesbian name-calling and the attack began after they politely spurned the men’s attempt to “flirt” with them as they walked along the 3100 block of 14th Street, N.W. at about 3 a.m.

The first suspect became enraged, the two women said, after one of the women said she was with her girlfriend, effectively identifying them as lesbians.

The police department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit did take a report of the incident three days later, on Aug. 2, after the mother of one of the women called police to complain that officers on the scene of the attack had refused to take such a report. The report lists the incident as an anti-lesbian hate crime.

Yazzmen Morse, one of the attack victims, said as many as seven police officers arrived in four police cars after a bystander observing the incident apparently called 911. Morse said the officers apprehended and detained one of the two male suspects in the case but released the man a short time later, much to the dismay of the five women.

“I was appalled when I heard about the incident and the conduct of the officers,” Lanier said in a statement she released on Aug. 5. “Obviously, this is not the kind of service that the Metropolitan Police Department provides,” she said. “I have spoken with victims in this case and I want to assure them and the public that the incident and the conduct of the officers are being investigated thoroughly.”

A.J. Singletary of GLOV (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Singletary said Lanier also told GLOV officials at the Aug. 4 meeting that police were close to obtaining warrants for the arrest of the two suspects and that arrests would be made possibly within days.

Singletary said that while GLOV officials don’t dispute Lanier’s characterization of the officers’ conduct as lazy policing, he and former GLOV Chair Chris Farris asked Lanier to look into whether anti-gay sentiment on the part of the officers played a role in the case.

“We conveyed that we also want the investigation to consider if there’s something beyond just laziness there, if there was homophobia on the part of the responding officers and if that had something to do with this as well,” Singletary said.

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  1. Brock Thompson

    August 8, 2011 at 7:54 am

    “In a private meeting on Aug. 11 with officials of the local group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence, Lanier called the conduct by the officers “lazy policing,” according A.J. Singletary, the group’s chairperson.”

    Correct date of meeting.

  2. Jillian Weiss

    August 8, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Thanks for this update, Lou. I note that the story says the meeting took place on August 11, but since today is August 8, I’m wondering when the meeting actually took place.

  3. Charlie

    August 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Good reporting. However, I am quite sure the meeting didn’t take place on August 11th.

  4. Rick Rosendall

    August 8, 2011 at 10:29 am

    This appears to be a case of biased policing. There used to be an MPD task force on that, but Chief Lanier discontinued it about three years ago.

  5. Keith Jarrell

    August 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    The Chief does not elaborate on the status of the officers at this time. Have they been placed on administrative leave while the investigation takes place? Or are they still on the streets in a position to treat more people like they are accused of treating these 5 women? They should be on administrative leave with pay pending the investigation.
    This is an important time between the MPD and the Gay and Lesbian community. We have to see now how well the MPD moves on a resolve to this issue that can and will be acceptable to the community.

  6. Al Thomas

    August 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    “Obviously, this is not the kind of service that the Metropolitan Police Department provides.” – Chief Lanier.

    Wrong. I guess it IS the kind of service the DC police provide, since there are five victims, one passerby who called 911, one assailant was detained but released, seven policemen on scene and the police had to be intimidated into taking a report days later. There should be enough of a paper trail alone to establish the facts.

    Lazy? Just LAZY? How about adding: unprofessional, homophobic, uncaring, reprehensible, vile, irresponsible and dereliction of duty for starters. Maybe there should be another, ABETTING a Hate Crime. You don’t have to take the risk of committing a hate crime yourself if you can comfortably let others do it for you.

    Fire the cops and get rid of their chief.

  7. F**k the MPD

    August 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    The Metropolitan Police Department is laden with both white and black bigots that would probably like to too be the perpetrators of these crimes. I’d like to see the Justice Department investigate this particular incident because it’s definitely a case of denying these women their civil rights.

  8. brian

    August 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Still sounds canned to me, Keith. More MPD/HQ obfuscation? More MPD/HQ talking points? Another trial balloon?

    Chief Lanier’s ‘off-with-their-heads’ management style is well-known among MPD’s rank and file. Likewise, her telegraphed contempt for GLLU/ SLU. Add to them the city’s acknowledged LGBT civil rights and public safety activists.

    If Chief Lanier wants to fire 7 MPD officers, perhaps in fear of losing their jobs for following what has become her institutional discriminatory policing practices over 4 years+, that’s just fine in this instance. But she should fire herself, as well.

    • Keith Jarrell

      August 9, 2011 at 2:33 pm

      Brian, I totally disagree, as there must first be a proper investigation. Rest assured that if proven guilty of not carrying out their duty as they should have they’re be fired or demoted. Lanier is an excellent Chief of police and clearly when you are this good, with high standards, there will always be some that won’t work at the level they are expected. Fairness counts in this case and due cause must prevail.
      Lanier has set high standards and every officer by now should realize this. If they don’t work at the level expected of them, they then deserve not to be around.
      There is a lot that goes into conducting a proper investigation of these allegations. Many officers, supervisors,and victims to interview. Tapes to listen to, reports to be written. It has to be done to standards and I have all the faith that it will be handled properly and in due time.

  9. blue-heron

    August 9, 2011 at 8:44 am

    Let’s just get the ball rolling by making a few phone calls:

    Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier
    (202) 727-4218

    Office of Police Complaints
    (202) 727-3838

    Mayor Vincent C. Gray
    (202) 727-6300
    [email protected]

  10. Marciela

    August 9, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Why does this further establish what an ass and liar Cat cimes across as? What fool other than herwould end the task force to begin with? The more bad press she receives, the stupider she looks. ALL of her lies will be made plain. Which day was it, the 8th or 11th? Can’t she get any of her fairy tales together?!

  11. brian

    August 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Thanks, blue-heron. Your larger suggestion is excellent.

    However, complaining to this Chief of Police — whose credibility has rightly long been suspect by DC’s LGBT community — is rather like suggesting we chickens complain to the area’s chief fox.

    That applies to complaining to the Chief’s *Office of Police Complaints*, as well.

    Concerned LGBT residents should understand that MPD is a *chain-of-command* organization. It is run, like our armed forces, top down, by its Chief of Police. Many believe MPD has been managed by this Chief with confusing messages, and an erratic iron fist — creating, with blatant fear-mongering, low morale throughout MPD.

    Moreover, IMO, this Chief has deliberately all but killed GLLU’s core unit over years in office– pretty much exactly as the Chief wanted to do when she began her tenure in 2007. It has been death by a thousand bureaucratic stings.

    Not stopping with GLLU, just months ago, the Chief also quietly and inexplicably replaced a capable MPD *CAPTAIN* of GLLU’s parent unit, SLU, with a *CIVILIAN*, having no policing and arrest experience — and (just as importantly) likely no serious credibility among MPD rank and file officers. (See the Blade’s article of May 26, 2011.)

    Any of us can imagine being a young, new, straight MPD police officer, looking to a 20-year career with MPD, and trying to do the right thing. But then that rookie officer is warned by MPD buddies of the Chief of Police’s apparent disdain for GLLU and her incredible downgrading of SLU’s command from a CAPTAIN to a civilian.

    Again, these actions were deliberate by this Chief. IMO, they have sent, from MPD’s highest levels, a not-so-subtle, but terrible message throughout MPD. It is a clear message of disdain and disrespect for GLLU and SLU– and by implication, the LGBT residents and vistors said police units were created to serve and protect.

    Rather than using an existing, world-renowned, award-winning GLLU unit to seriously protect DC’s LGBT community from assaults, hate crimes and murder, this Chief has inexplicably been hell-bent on destroying GLLU as a credible, effective policing unit. IMO, this Chief has, through her own mistaken policies and direction, fostered an atmosphere of fear of retribution within MPD, as well as one of de facto discrimination, including de facto institutional homophobia and transphobia.

    So we ought to give great pause to complaining to this Chief of Police — and the MPD complaint office under this Chief’s command.

    How do we know these 7 MPD officers did not think they were doing what their Chief of Police and her Partrol Services Assistant Chief expected them to do? Indeed, how do we know how well LGBT police officers within MPD are being treated under this Chief’s command? Why aren’t LGBT officers being actively recruited to train their fellow officers in LGBT sensitivity and patrolling?

    The fact is, the buck truly stops with Mayor Gray and the Council. No buffers, please. The public safety of LGBT citizens and LGBT visitors to this capital city, once again deserve THEIR direct, unfiltered attention and oversight.

    More to blue-heron’s larger suggestion, when I get the time.

  12. dee omally

    August 11, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Chief Lanier: if in fact justice was denied to the five females (their sexuality has zilch to do with anything other than as an enhancement as a hate crime), then the credibility of your dept seems to be at near zero. This need not remain this way. It is patently un-American to treat crime victims as less than worthy of receiving justice, especially victims of violence. My hunch is that these perps at first might have thought that the females were trans….they certainly match rough descriptions of the suspects involved recently in transgender crimes. Follow through on this is critical. I am transgender and have served in L.E. at the military, state, and county levels. My dream is to return to L.E. as a female in the near future. Also, especially now, it is crucial that the gay/lesbian task force that was in place be reconvened ASAP. It never should have been disbanded and proof is of the LGBT hate crimes that are occurring that have now resulted in murder.

    And, if you are interested in recruiting a trans officer, hey let me know! I am thrilled to see a female police chief! Really I am. As a trans female that began transitioning in hospital security, I was amazed at how I quickly de-escalated many disturbances by being tough but female sweet. It worked like a charm. In fact, it made the hospital a much safer place. Being female comes naturally and men at their worst responded to me no different than any female because unlike the male security officers, they didn’t feel challenged to compete.

    Please focus on LGBT hate crimes at D.C…and if you need an able-bodied trans officer…I am right here!

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Youngkin reiterates opposition to marriage equality

Va. gubernatorial candidate says issue ‘legally acceptable’ in state



(Photo courtesy of Twitter)

Glenn Youngkin in an interview with the Associated Press has reiterated his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples.

Youngkin—a Republican who is running against Democrat Terry McAuliffe to succeed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam—said in an interview published on Friday that he feels “called to love everyone.” Youngkin then reiterated his opposition to marriage equality before he added it is “legally acceptable” in the state.

“I, as governor, will support that,” Youngkin told the AP.

McAuliffe was Virginia’s governor from 2014-2018.

Same-sex couples began to legally marry in Virginia a few months after McAuliffe took office.

McAuliffe in 2014 became the first governor of a Southern state to officiate a same-sex wedding. The lesbian couple who McAuliffe married recently appeared in one of his campaign ads.

McAuliffe on Friday criticized Youngkin. “As governor, I worked my heart out to keep Virginia open and welcoming to all,” said McAuliffe in a tweet. “This type of bigotry and intolerance has no place in our commonwealth.”

The anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has categorized as an extremist group, earlier this month endorsed Youngkin, but Log Cabin Republicans are among the groups that have backed his campaign. The Human Rights Campaign in 2019 named Youngkin’s former company, the Carlyle Group, as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” in its annual Corporate Equality Index.

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D.C. school board calls for LGBTQ-inclusive teaching standards

Sweeping resolution proposing content in curricula approved unanimously



Gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang.

The D.C. State Board of Education voted unanimously on Oct. 20 to approve a resolution calling for LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards for the city’s public schools that “reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”

The two-page resolution, which was introduced by gay State Board of Education member Allister Chang, who represents Ward 2, cites national research showing that students who have access to LGBTQ+ curricula in their schools “are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school.”

The resolution states that research also shows that multicultural education, including the teaching of LGBTQ topics, “helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities.”

LGBTQ rights advocates have long considered the local D.C. government through its mayor and City Council to be highly supportive of the LGBTQ community. But Chang and other supporters of the resolution approved by the board Wednesday night say their research shows that D.C. public schools, while supportive of LGBTQ students, are far behind the school systems in several other states in the inclusion of LGBTQ topics in school curricula.

As an example, supporters of the resolution point out that curriculum standards for social studies classes in the D.C. school system include only one mention of LGBTQ people in a teaching section related to victims of the Holocaust.   

Unlike most other cities and states, under current D.C. law, the school system is controlled by the mayor through the D.C. Department of Education, which is headed by a Deputy Mayor for Education and who, in turn and in consultation with the mayor, appoints a State Superintendent of Education who oversees the day-to-day operations of the schools.

Under a change in the education statute approved by the D.C. Council and signed by then-Mayor Adrian Fenty in 2007, the school board, which was renamed the State Board of Education, became a mostly advisory body on education matters with some statutory authority to approve education standards on which school curricula are based.

Thus, the resolution approved by the board on Wednesday “advises” and “recommends” that the State Superintendent of Education develop school curricula, guidance for teachers, and school-based leaders and staff “in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms.”

The resolution concludes by recommending that the State Superintendent of Education conduct a survey of students within two years after the Oct. 20 adoption of the resolution “to establish baseline data and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.”

Chang and other members of the State Board of Education noted at the Oct. 20 meeting, which was virtual, that Will Beckerman, who graduated this year from D.C.’s School Without Walls High School, played an important role in conducting the research used to prepare the LGBTQ standards resolution and helped in the drafting of the resolution.

Chang noted that much of the background information used to draft the resolution came from Beckerman’s senior year school research paper and advocacy project that focuses on the topic of LGBTQ-inclusive education.

In comments supporting the resolution, Chang also spoke about how the very limited LGBTQ content he encountered during his high school days helped him accept himself as a gay youth.

“As a student myself, I don’t remember a single mention of any LGBTQ people in any of my classwork until I read Thomas Mann in my senior year in high school,” Chang said. “And in Death in Venice, this Nobel Prize winner touches upon his struggles with homosexuality but never actually names it explicitly,” Chang told fellow board members.

“And I remember holding on to this novella despite the self-hatred that’s woven throughout this story because it was the first time that I saw this aspect of my identity reflected in my class work,” he said. “My hope – and I think this hope comes true with this resolution tonight – is that future generations of LGBTQ students have more opportunities to see themselves reflected in their class work and to feel less isolated by their class work than I did growing up.”

It couldn’t immediately be determined whether D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser will endorse the school system changes proposed by the resolution approved by the State Board of Education.

The full text of the resolution follows:

State Board of Education Resolution

On LGBTQ+ Inclusive Education Standards


WHEREAS, the 2019 District of Columbia Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students make up 15.9 percent of high school students in the District and transgender students make up1.9 percent of District high school students;

WHEREAS, in the District, these students, in comparison to their heterosexual peers, experience double the rate of bullying on school property, report higher rates of being removed from class for disciplinary reasons, and are more than twice as likely to experience suicidal ideation;

WHEREAS, national data shows that lesbian, gay, and bisexual students are significantly more likely to receive grades of D or F than their heterosexual peers and were more likely to be truant;

WHEREAS, consistent research suggests that students with LGBTQ+ inclusive curricula in their schools are more likely to report lower frequency of bullying, lower levels of depression, more accepting peers, and greater feelings of safety in school—and this safety leads students to report higher attendance, higher GPAs, a greater sense of belonging in the school community, and higher educational aspirations;

WHEREAS, research shows that multicultural education helps prevent the formation of bias and prejudice and creates more democratic communities ; 

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education recognizes the need to have revised social studies standards that create “windows and mirrors” so students see themselves and people like them reflected in the content of standards and curriculum, as well as having the opportunity to learn about diverse people, cultures, places, and experiences unlike themselves—explicitly noting that the current standards emphasize the lives of presidents and other figures who held/hold power and under-represent or lack representation of people and groups like those identifying as LGBTQ+, and their respective histories;

WHEREAS, in the State Board of Education’s review and revision of the social studies standards, the State Board called upon the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to “seek standards writers who reflect the demographics and experiences of District students and of the communities they are writing about” sharing a list of examples that included writers identifying as LGBTQ+;

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education is committed to ensuring students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be engaged global citizens in a diverse democratic society; and,

WHEREAS, the State Board of Education has a commitment to promote equity, introduce policies to reduce disparities between students, and create safe school environments for all students.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT, upon the next revision of any District of Columbia state education standards, the State Board of Education should adapt standards, when appropriate, that reflect on the political, economic, social, cultural, and scientific contributions and experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education advises the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) to provide guidance to teachers and school-based leaders and staff on creating inclusive lessons in science and English language arts (ELA) classes that align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core ELA standards, respectively;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) implement professional development for teachers and school-based leaders and staff to aid them in providing LGBTQ+ inclusive lessons and practices in their classrooms, such that that the professional development includes: workshops for local education agencies (LEAs) and teachers to draft curriculum related to LGBTQ+ topics in their subject areas, lessons on use of inclusive language in the classroom, lessons on ensuring LGBTQ+ students’ safety and confidentiality while maintaining respect for their name and pronouns, and mandatory diversity training related to the LGBTQ+ community; and,

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED THAT, the State Board of Education recommends that the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) survey students within two (2) years of adoption of this resolution to establish baseline date and to gain an understanding of the current experiences of LGBTQ+ students across the district and what all students know and understand about the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ people in the relevant subject areas.

Brikett, Michelle et al. “Sexual-orientation disparities in school: the meditational role of indicators of victimization in achievement and truancy because of feeling unsafe.” American Journal of Public Health vol. 104, 6 (2014): 1124-8. doi: 10.2105/AJHP.2013.301785

Kosciw, Joseph G., et al. “The 2019 National School Climate Survey: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Our Nation’s Schools.” GLSEN, GLSEN, 2020,

Camicia, Steven P. Critical Democratic Education and LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum: Opportunities and Constraints. Routledge Focus, 2016.

Camicia, Steven P. “Prejudice Reduction through Multicultural Education: Connecting Multiple Literatures.” Social Studies Research and Practice, vol. 2, no. 2, 2007, pp. 219–227.

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Nellie’s agrees to $5,000 fine, 7-day license suspension over brawl

Penalty prompted by security guard dragging Black woman down stairs



Nellie’s must pay a fine and face a seven-day license suspension over a June 13 brawl in which a Black woman was dragged down the stairs. (Blade file photo by Tom Hausman)

The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board on Wednesday, Oct 20, approved a compromise agreement it reached with Nellie’s Sports Bar that calls for the U Street, N.W. gay bar to pay a $5,000 fine and serve a seven-day license suspension over a June 13 incident in which a Black woman was dragged down a flight of stars by a Nellie’s security guard during a brawl between Nellie’s customers.

The agreement calls for a license suspension of 24 days with 17 days to be suspended and seven days to be served “so long as the Respondent does not commit any violations within (1) year from the date of this Order,” the ABC Board declared in a three-page order confirming the agreement.  

The order states that the license suspension will be served from Dec. 20-26 of this year. It also states that Nellie’s must pay the fine within 120 days from the date of the order. If the fine is not paid during that time “its license shall be immediately suspended until all amounts owed are paid.”

As a final stipulation of the agreement, the ABC Board states that Nellie’s must file a “legally compliant security plan” within 10 calendar days of the Oct. 20 order.

The security plan requirement stems from an earlier finding by the city’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration related to the June 13 incident that Nellie’s was in violation of several provisions of the city’s liquor law, including a provision that a security plan that meets the standards of the city’s liquor regulations is in place.

An ABRA investigation of the June 13 incident found, among other things, that “multiple assaults occurred inside the establishment while the licensee was engaged in a method of operation conducive to unlawful conduct.”

The action by the Nellie’s security guard, which took place during the city’s LGBTQ Pride weekend, was captured on video taken by one of the customers on their phone. The video went viral on social media, prompting a series of protests against the bar by LGBTQ activists and Black Lives Matter advocates.

Nellie’s issued an apology for the incident the following day and announced it had fired the private security company whose employee, who is Black, dragged Keisha Young, 22, down the stairs. Nellie’s also announced it would temporarily close for business to assess what had happened and develop plans for reopening as a safe space for all members of the community. It reopened 35 days later, with protesters continuing to assemble outside the bar for several more weeks.

 When the five-member ABC Board on Oct. 20 held a roll call vote to approve what is officially called an Offer-In-Compromise or OIC agreement with Nellie’s that includes the fine, license suspension, and other provisions, gay ABC Board member Edward Grandis voted against the agreement, becoming the only member to do so.

A video recording of the virtual ABC Board meeting available through YouTube shows that Grandis expressed general support for the decision by both the board and Nellie’s to reach a compromise agreement. But he said he objects to the license suspension requirement.

“In this particular regard, when the facts and the testimony indicate that the licensee on its own initiative without any knowledge, at least in the testimony, of prompting from the government or MPD or any party, to itself close for 35 days during – generally – the pandemic when so many companies lost their companies and their employees lost their jobs and the neighborhoods lost their establishments, I really believe that this particular situation shows that the licensee took this event seriously and accordingly in a manner that hopefully will prevent it from happening again or have better security measures to avoid this type of situation in the future,” Grandis told his fellow board members.

“And I just wanted the record to show I’m supportive of the OIC generally, but I don’t believe it was constructed in a way that indicates what this licensee has done since that incident,” Grandis said.

Nellie’s owner, Douglas Schantz, and Nellie’s attorney, Andrew Klein, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Klein, who spoke at the ABC Board hearing on Wednesday, said in response to a question by Grandis that Nellie’s reluctantly agreed to the fine and license suspension, which he called “excessive,” among other things, because Schantz wants to put the matter behind him and to “heal” and “move on” with the community.

The ABC Board’s action came one day after the Washington City Paper announced that Nellie’s Sports Bar finished in second place among its readers in its annual Best of D.C. contest for the category of “Best Gay Bar/Club/Lounge.”

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