June 22, 2012 at 11:55 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Anti-Defamation League, LGBT groups tapped to help D.C. police address hate crimes

Cathy Lanier

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

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has enlisted the Anti-Defamation League, a national group that fights prejudice and discrimination, to help the department assess how it investigates and reports hate crimes, including anti-LGBT hate crimes, police announced on Thursday.

The announcement came one day after Lanier and Paul Quander, D.C. Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, informed representatives of the LGBT community at a meeting that the ADL helped Lanier form a new task force to assist the department in strengthening its efforts to combat hate crimes.

In a statement released on Thursday, police said the ADL invited the Human Rights Campaign, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and two university professors considered experts on hate violence to join ADL as members of the task force.

“In December 2011, Chief Lanier asked ADL, a national leader on the issue of hate crimes, to assist the department by conducting an impartial review of MPD’s programs, comparing them with programs in other departments in the nation, and identifying any areas that might be strengthened,” the police statement says.

“The ADL has assembled this small group of national civil rights organizations, advocacy groups and recognized academic authorities with involvement and experience on the issues of community engagement and hate crimes to donate their time and effort,” the statement says.

The two academics named to the task force, who are said to be experts on the causes and impact of hate violence, are Professor Jack McDevitt of Northeastern University and Professor Jim Nolan of West Virginia University.

“The task force will carry out its work in two phases,” according to the statement. “The first phase will focus on outreach and response to the LGBT community. The second phase will examine how MPD works with other groups in the community,” it says.

“Phase one will begin immediately, with the assessment task force interviews and meetings with LGBT community members and activists over the next month,” it says.

“The District of Columbia is open and welcoming to people of all nations, races, sexual orientation, and gender identity,” Quander said in the statement. “We want all individuals – whether they are people in those communities or those who might commit a hate crime – to know that intolerance and hate crimes have no place in our vibrant city.”

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

  • Things aren’t always as they appear.

    This task force appears to be a legitimate effort, with sterling national participants. However, closer scrutiny reveals that it is also another public relations effort *BY* our chief of police, *FOR* our chief of police.

    Chief Lanier has defined the scope of the study to include comparisons with other metropolitan PDs, thus assuring that Lanier’s longstanding, questionable LGBT community policing policies, training and procedures will be shown in a favorable light by comparison.

    Chief Lanier has also conveniently EXCLUDED three local LGBT premier civil rights and public safety organizations from decision-making/ voting participation on this task force. Those local DC organizations are the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA), Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), and DC Trans Coalition (DCTC). These organization are among the most experienced local groups working with MPD to deter anti-LGBT hate crimes, and they enjoy the broad respect and support of DC’s LGBT residents and stakeholders.

    Yet– in the past, as well– Chief Lanier has excluded each of these groups from input as to MPD’s LGBT community policing practices. This is likely due to their necessary criticisms of Lanier’s generally uncooperative treatment of LGBT public safety and community policing.

    Without the decisional inclusion of DC’s GLAA, GLOV and DCTC in this ADL task force, this task force will lose a lot of credibility. Rightly so.

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