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Police commissioner meets residents

Low turnout for event with Batts

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Baltimore, police, forum, gay news, Washington Blade
Baltimore, police, forum, gay news, Washington Blade

There was a low turnout for last week’s meeting with Baltimore police officials. (Washington Blade photo by Steve Charing)

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts along with several officers from the department met with members of the LGBT community on Oct. 10 at the Waxter Center.  The meeting was arranged by the department’s LGBT Advisory Council and FreeState Legal.

The forum, which was scheduled as part of Baltimore Black Pride’s weeklong celebration, was aimed at opening lines of communication and to improve relations between the department and LGBT residents.

It also focused on alleged hate crimes as well as profiling and harassment by police that targets community members. In addition, the manner and tone in which police officers have spoken to members of the public was discussed.

“We’re here to be open, we’re here to engage, we’re here to be part of the community — all parts of the community,” Batts said.  The commissioner, who said he grew up with a gay uncle, saw the high-profile beating of gay man Kenni Shaw last Christmas as the catalyst to improve communication. This led to the establishment of the LGBT Advisory Council.

Shaw and his supporters believe the attack outside a corner store in East Baltimore was a hate crime given Shaw’s sexual orientation and the fact that no robbery was committed. Batts indicated that the police have not reached the conclusion that it was a hate crime and no such charges were filed.

Other issues addressed included the handling of same-sex domestic violence situations between same-sex couples, the procedures in place to deal with profiling complaints, crime in the area and the success so far of the “Public Enemy No. 1” campaign. The police touted statistics indicating a decline in violent and property crime from the previous year.

“Unfortunately, there were more police and city officials there than actually community members and stakeholders,” activist Rev. Meredith Moise said of the surprisingly low turnout.  “It is great to see the commissioner and his staff reaching out to the Baltimore LGBT community. However, we, as a community, need to show up and be present for these events. A relationship is a two-way street. Hopefully more folks will show up to the next event.”

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Virginia

Suhas Subramanyam wins Democratic primary in Va. 10th Congressional District

Former Obama advisor vows to champion LGBTQ rights in Congress

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Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Fairfax County) (Photo courtesy of Subramanyam's campaign)

Virginia state Sen. Suhas Subramanyam (D-Loudoun County) on Tuesday won the Democratic primary in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) in Congress.

Subramanyam won the Democratic primary in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District with 30.4 percent of the votes. The Loudoun County Democrat who was an advisor to former President Barack Obama will face Republican Mike Clancy in November’s general election.

“I’m thrilled to be the Democratic nominee in Virginia’s 10th, and to have won this election during Pride Month,” Subramanyam told the Washington Blade on Wednesday in an emailed statement. “As I have done in the state legislature and as an Obama White House policy advisor, I will always stand as an ally with the LGBTQ+ community.”

Wexton, who is a vocal LGBTQ rights champion, last September announced she will not seek re-election after doctors diagnosed her with progressive supranuclear palsy, a neurological disorder she has described as “Parkinson’s on steroids.” Wexton is a vice chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus and a previous co-chair of its Transgender Equality Task Force.

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Baltimore

Police say they didn’t spray a chemical agent at Baltimore Pride. Why don’t those who attended believe it?

Attendees allege city failed to adequately respond to emergency

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A parade participant is photographed clutching on to a rainbow flag at Baltimore’s Pride Parade held on June 15, 2024. (Photo by Ronica Edwards/Baltimore Banner)

BY BRENNA SMITH and JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | A chemical agent that disrupted Pride Parade festivities last weekend continues to cause confusion and raise suspicion among many in the Baltimore LGBTQIA+ community, who question the police account of what happened.

The Baltimore Police Department said Tuesday that they had determined the released substance was Mace, but did not say how they came to that conclusion. A BPD spokesperson said that the chemical was released after two groups of people got into an altercation. Three people were treated and released from a nearby hospital because of injuries from the spray.

The rest of this article can be read on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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Baltimore

Carlton R. Smith: LGBTQ advocate, ‘mayor’ of Mount Vernon, passes away

‘The Duchess’ died on May 29 in his sleep

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Carlton R. Smith, an LGBTQ advocate, died May 29. He was 61. (Photo courtesy of Carlton R. Smith)

BY JOHN-JOHN WILLIAMS IV | Carlton R. Smith was affectionately called “The Duchess” in a nod to royalty, because of his unofficial role of mayor of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood. He was a “walking billboard” for Calvin Klein, with a love for purple, Batman, cooking, house music, Prince, and Diana Ross.

“If you said Duchess, you knew who that was,” said his close friend of 25-years, Carrietta Hiers.

The rest of this article can be found on the Baltimore Banner’s website.

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