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Gay man assaulted, called ‘faggot’ at D.C. Safeway

Police post video of suspect, ask community for help

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Safeway, gay news, Washington Blade
Safeway, gay news, Washington Blade

Police are looking for this unidentified woman in connection with an alleged assault at a D.C. Safeway.

An unidentified female suspect punched a gay man several times in the face while calling him a faggot in an unprovoked attack on July 2 inside a Safeway store at 5th and L Streets, N.W., according to an account the victim gave to D.C. police.

A police report says the suspect, described as an African-American woman appearing in her 20s, was last seen fleeing eastbound on foot in the 400 block of L Street, N.W., where one of the entrances to the Safeway store is located.

On Monday, D.C. police posted to YouTube a video of the suspect taken from at least three security cameras at the Safeway store, asking the public to help police identify her. The police report describes her as being between 5 feet 6 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing between 110 to 125 pounds, with brown eyes and a light brown complexion.

The victim, Mark Rutstein, a local Realtor, said Safeway employees told him they believe the suspect, who is a regular Safeway customer, might be associated with gang members at a nearby public housing project and that he feared for his safety.

D.C. police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump told the Blade detectives have been assigned to investigate the case and are looking into whether “hate bias was a motive in this offense,” which police have listed as a simple assault.

Crump said police officials are also looking into why the officer who prepared the police report on the incident didn’t list the assault as a suspected hate crime, although he stated in the report that the victim said the suspect called him a “faggot” during the assault.

Rutstein told the Blade that three of the four officers who responded to the scene, including two from the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, acted in a highly professional and supportive manner. He said the GLLU officers responded to a text message he sent the unit asking for help.

But he said the officer that took the report, Michael L. Shipman Meyer of the First District, treated him in a hostile and disparaging way and appeared “extremely annoyed to have to take this report.” Rutstein said he filed a complaint against Shipman with both the police department and the city’s independent Office of Police Complaints.

“The complaint was sent to MPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and it is under investigation,” Crump told the Blade in an email.

According to the victim, the incident started when he approached a customer service and checkout line and saw the unidentified woman standing near but not directly in the line.

“So I walked up to the side of her and I said, ‘Excuse me, ma’am, are you in this line?’ And she looked at me as if she had more anger in her eyes than I have seen in a while,” said Rutstein, 40.

He said the woman didn’t say anything, prompting him to ask her one more time if she was in line. She again gave him an angry expression but said nothing. Then, seconds later, the woman backed into him with her shoulder, turned around and began punching him in the face while calling him a “faggot,” he said.

“I grabbed her dreads and I pulled her dreads down onto the floor and I restrained her in that position while she was continuing to try to punch my face but my reach was too far,” Rutstein said. “And I’m screaming for security and for them to call the police. All of the people on the line and working at the registers were frozen,” he recounted.

Seconds later security guards and an assistant manager rushed to the scene, he said. “They came at me like I was the assaulter and quickly told me to let go. When I did let go they did nothing to restrain her. They basically gave her the option to turn around and come back at me again.”

However, an assistant manager and two security guards instead escorted the woman to the front door of the store, allowing her to run away, he said.

“I told the assistant manager why aren’t you calling police? And he said if you want the police there’s the police station across the street,” Rutstein told the Blade.

Craig Muckle, the public affairs and government relations manager for Safeway’s Eastern Division, said he spoke to the store manager, who did not witness the incident but spoke to store employees.

“I’m hearing there was an effort to call police,” Muckle told the Blade.

He said that if a store employee told the victim the store could not call police in response to an incident such as this one, the employee is misinformed.

“If he was told that, it is not correct information,” said Muckle. “We don’t have a policy to prohibit that.”

Rutstein said he went to the police station across the street from the Safeway store and discovered the door was locked and no one answered a doorbell. He said he flagged down a police car on the street, and the officer in the car apparently arranged for Officer Shipman and another First District officer to arrive at the scene.

He said he also sent a text message to the GLLU. He said two officers from the GLLU arrived on the scene at the same time another two officers from the First Police District arrived.

He said GLLU Officer Justin Markiewicz and another officer requested and received permission from Safeway security guards to obtain a copy of the store’s security video footage that captured the assault and which has since been posted by police to YouTube.

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58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. Norman Dostal

    July 8, 2014 at 4:25 pm

    lock up that crazy bitch!! and reprimand the store employees

  2. Jimmy Humphries

    July 8, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    So if the woman had been shop lifting she would have been detained and possibly charged, but when she assaults someone she is taken right to the door where she can get away? This right here makes me never want to shop at #Safeway EVER again.

  3. Anonymous

    July 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    I'm trying to load Safeway's website to urge their corporate headquarters to fire the store employees that aided and abetted the escape of the attacker–and their site won't load. I suspect therefore I'm not the only one trying to tell Safeway what I think of their store employees.

  4. Michael David Barber Moghul

    July 8, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    This is why people become vigilantes. When the police and others are reluctant to respond or give a damn, you get people taking justice into their own hands.

  5. Elliot Dowling

    July 8, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    “I’m hearing there was an effort to call police,” Muckle told the Blade.

    Let's check your phone records, Muckle. Or stop lying.

  6. Brian Lance

    July 8, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I will never shop at safeway again,and its typical for a manager to shuffle the offender to the front door,he should not have a job.

  7. Brian Lance

    July 8, 2014 at 5:58 pm

    exactly.

  8. Matthew Swanson

    July 8, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    I encountered the same problem when I lived in a black neighborhood a few years ago. I was harassed daily by people on the street and finally an assault at the Metro station was too much. Nobody cared when I tried to report these incidents because, as one police officer told me "This is like Vietnam out here" just after he asked me "why do you live here?" I guess even in 2014 people still can't admit that there is a such thing as reverse racism.

  9. Jeremy Vera

    July 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    What is "reverse racism" please explain. Racism is racism regardless of who the victim or perpetrator is. I have never heard of reverse racism.

    • DC Native

      July 9, 2014 at 1:08 am

      Thank You Jeremy something makes me think Matthew’s story is phony a Black Neighborhood girl bye the city is still predominately Black take your pick unless it’s lower or central NW or SW They’re mostly Black neighborhoods! LOL!

  10. Jamayka Stephyns

    July 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    welcome to 1984 ! WTF ???

  11. Jamayka Stephyns

    July 8, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    welcome to 1984 ! WTF ???

  12. Matthew Swanson

    July 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Jeremy Vera Some people believe that white people cannot experience racism which is often called "reverse racism" because normally some believe that racism only happens against minorities such as blacks and latinos. I haven ever subscribed to that theory and I know very well that racism happens all around. Yes, anti-white racism is less common, but it still exists and finally is being recognized by groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center… So an example of "reverse racism" would be that pro-Muslim group that protests every Friday and Saturday at Columbia Heights Metro station.

    • El Dorado

      July 8, 2014 at 10:00 pm

      I don’t deny whites can be victims of racism, look at whites in Zimbabwe at the hands of Robert Mugabe for example.

      However, the attacker called the victim a faggot NOT a slur about being white. It was anti-gay and you should recognize that too. Further, the store employees did nothing to help the victim which only proves they didn’t care about the victim or a lawsuit because he was gay.

      Too many gay people like to believe it doesn’t matter anymore if you’re gay simply because we are more visible than ever before and having a string of legal victories for marriage equality in particular. We may be changing laws but not attitudes against GBTL people. Our enemies in frustration simply lash out against us whenever they can as they always have.

      The KKK and white supremacist still exist so why believe homophobia has been largely conquered? Obama despite being President is still treated like a bitch be the GOP conservatives and they hate him not only because he’s liberal but because he does so much for GLBT people.

      • DC Native

        July 9, 2014 at 1:10 am

        Thank You El Dorado I still think Matthew may have issues with Blacks. You need to check that.

  13. Frankie James

    July 8, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    If that had happened to me, I certainly would sue the store for the lack of action. It is just amazing that after witnessing what happened they would just escort her to the door.

    Include those employees who witnessed it and the “security guards.”

  14. Firsty Lasty

    July 8, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    The heterosexual lifestyle is just so immoral.

  15. Randall William Dunkle

    July 8, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Jeremy Vera THANK YOU!! I would also like to point out that it being a "black neighborhood" had nothing to do with it. It was a high crime neighborhood. Go to Waldorf (80% affluent African American people), you won't have a problem. Perhaps you should worry about your forward racism before worrying about the "reverse". One more question, how is a protest group racist simply because it is pro Muslim?

  16. Randall William Dunkle

    July 8, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Jeremy Vera THANK YOU!! I would also like to point out that it being a "black neighborhood" had nothing to do with it. It was a high crime neighborhood. Go to Waldorf (80% affluent African American people), you won't have a problem. Perhaps you should worry about your forward racism before worrying about the "reverse". One more question, how is a protest group racist simply because it is pro Muslim?

  17. Matthew Swanson

    July 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Randall William Dunkle Because they're out there preaching hate against jews, gays, and "the white devil" etc. If that isn't hate, I don't know what is! Perhaps you should go see these groups first before assuming I'm not legitimately calling them what they are. I wasn't saying that black neighborhoods are dangerous neighborhoods. All I was referencing was my own personal experiencing being one white guy in a black neighborhood who got constantly harassed. I said nothing about this being a common trend or anything.

  18. Herb

    July 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Please go to the Safeway Facebook page and leave a comment.

  19. Jokie X Wilson

    July 9, 2014 at 12:19 am

    You don't think they thought since it was a woman assaulting a man that he should just be "man enough" to not notice? ;-)

  20. J Eric Goines

    July 9, 2014 at 12:36 am

    Matthew Swanson Your assumption of Racism doesn't hold merit. Now if she was beating up the dude and saying all kinds of stuff about him being White, I'd agree with you, but where she went was gay-hate speech, not Race-hate based speech.

    Its not always about Black and White. Sometimes its just a woman with a problem looking for a target to hurt.

    That said, Safeway's reaction was abominable. I'm assuming that's the Dupont store not far from where I used to take yoga classes?

    Sounds like Safeway doesn't need any more Gay dollars if they can't take better care of their customers.

  21. El Dorado

    July 8, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I thought it was a man not a woman from the image. Closet case?

    So much for saying being gay doesn’t matter anymore. You stupid queens that say that are simply fooling yourselves!

  22. Debbie Steele

    July 9, 2014 at 1:52 am

    I bet if that woman had punched a checker or the security guys this would be a total different story ! This is just wrong in every way !

  23. Debbie Steele

    July 9, 2014 at 1:52 am

    I bet if that woman had punched a checker or the security guys this would be a total different story ! This is just wrong in every way !

  24. TJ

    July 8, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Randall William Dunkle, sorry dude but I too have witnessed that pro-Muslim group. As you said, being pro-Muslim isn’t in itself racism or “reverse racism.” But they do indeed spew a tremendous amount of vile anti-white rhetoric. And yes, they specific “white” in their speech and say “the white devil.” Are you suggesting that isn’t racist?

    J. Eric Goines: It’s not the Dupont Safeway. The story says 5th and L Sts. which would be a couple blocks from the Convention Center. It opened about four years ago.

  25. brians ions

    July 9, 2014 at 12:30 am

    “But he said the officer that took the report, Michael L. Shipman Meyer of the First District, treated him in a hostile and disparaging way and appeared ‘extremely annoyed to have to take this report.’ Rutstein said he filed a complaint against Shipman with both the police department and the city’s independent Office of Police Complaints.”
    =======================================================
    SHHH! Just cover it up and blame the victim.
     
    Soon we are likely to see/hear– yet again– hand-wringing excuses from Chief Lanier and/or AC Groomes lamenting the fact that their officers are not reporting suspected anti-LGBT hate crimes– not unless a victim complains to MPD’s GLLU or the news media.
     
    At what point do all those repeated excuses by MPD’s chiefs lose all credibility? Isn’t it just as likely that MPD’s rank-and-file officers are being told, quietly, by their superiors, to do what they are doing now?

  26. Efrem Capers

    July 9, 2014 at 7:47 am

    As I am reading the non Facebook comments. It turned out just like I thought a bunch of racially motivated comments. THE SO CALLED LOVING LGBGQ Community LOL!

  27. Efrem Capers

    July 9, 2014 at 7:48 am

    I meant LGBTQ Community

  28. Johnny West

    July 9, 2014 at 11:44 am

    New day, new thug. You'd never see a self-respecting white woman do this.

    • DC Native

      July 10, 2014 at 12:56 am

      Actually Johnny you would never see a self respecting Black or Hispanic woman doing it neither. And your point is?

  29. Warryck McPherson

    July 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    look the police are post video but try to video one of them! i hope they get this person but don't use something that benefit you when you need it.

  30. Jessica Naomi

    July 9, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Tell those Safeway Nazis what you think about them here https://www.facebook.com/SafewayWashingtonDC2737

  31. Alejandro Asín

    July 9, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    You sound just as racist as she sounds homophobic…

  32. Kyle Nelson Roberts

    July 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    The woman looks like a fucking teenager. That girls needs a bitchslap to the face is what she needs. I'll show her faggot.

  33. Brian Tatem

    July 9, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    Am I watching two police officers in this photo yacking it up in the background? Wow they would not need the public's help if they bothered to react to someone running out the door right in front of them…

  34. brians ions

    July 9, 2014 at 11:52 am

    “But he said the officer that took the report… of the First District, treated him in a hostile and disparaging way and appeared ‘extremely annoyed to have to take this report.'”
    =======================================
    SHHH! Just cover it up and blame the victim.
     
    Soon we are likely to see/hear– yet again– hand-wringing excuses from Chief Lanier and/or AC Groomes lamenting the fact that their officers are not initially reporting suspected anti-LGBT hate crimes on their 251 reports– not unless a victim further complains to MPD’s GLLU or the news media.
     
    At what point do all those repeated excuses by MPD’s chiefs lose all credibility? Isn’t it just as likely that MPD’s rank-and-file officers are being told, quietly, by their superiors, to do what they are doing now?
     
    MPD’s brass are delighted to have a competing “racism” thread going here, as it takes the focus off the most important failure that happened in this case, namely …
     
    the failure of MPD’s responding officer from 1D (First District) to treat this crime as the “HATE CRIME” it is.
     
    We have seen this kind of *INITIAL* MPD coverup response many time before in recent years. It is becoming standard operating procedure (SOP). And here’s how it plays out, in case you or yours are the next LGBT victim(s) of hate crimes…
     
    Before today’s MPD seriously enforces DC’s tough hate crimes law, the LGBT victim(s) has to know his or her rights, and then has to jump through additional hoops before MPD will do its J.O.B…
     
    Traumatized hate crimes victims have to make a second call to MPD (or GLOV or the LGBT news media) yet again before MPD’s GLLU unit will then “ride to the rescue.”
     
    MPD’s chiefs know that a certain percentage of crime victims will be DISCOURAGED or INTIMIDATED by a surly, dismissive MPD initial response.
     
    Many victims simply will not jump through MPD’s additional hoops. The crime does not get reported– or it gets “SHUT DOWN” altogether as was reported last year by Human Rights Watch regarding sexual assault victims in DC.
     
    Just GOOGLE: “human rights watch dc police video” and watch the vid.
     
    The very purpose and nature of police COVERUPS is “out of sight, out of mind.” And that is easily achieved when all power is concentrated within just a few people (in DC, that’s the mayor and his chief of police). If a crime gets buried, all the better for a chief’s and mayor’s crime statistics at election time.
     
    This is a LGBT public safety issue Muriel Bowser, David Catania and Carol Schwartz should be addressing. But they are not. Nor is Vince Gray, nor Phil Mendelson, nor is the rest of Council.
     
    So we have little effective check and balance of our police department and its ongoing abuse of crime victims. The independent DC office, *Office of Police Complaints* (OPC), provides an additional hoop-jumping alternative for crime victims abused by police.

    We are all in Mr. Rutstein’s debt for taking the time and hassle to jump through those unnecessary hoops created by MPD’s management.
     
    But OPC does not solve the larger, systemic problem. As cities like NY, Boston, Philadelphia, LA have done, DC should promptly adopt a POLICE COMMISSION system, so concentrations of abusive power is under constant review by more than just a few people.

  35. Bob Lee

    July 9, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Also post on the Home Safeway page so HQ sees it.

  36. Jessica Naomi

    July 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Just tell them here Safeway

  37. Jessica Naomi

    July 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Just tell them here Safeway

  38. Barrie Daneker

    July 9, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Ok enough.

    Chief Lanier, you get that staff together and fire this officer ASAP! If an officer had taken this compliant from me an acted like such, you’d have me you face everyday making your life as the Chief a living hell. Cathy I’m sick of the shit pouring out of your mouth about what you are doing about this type of violence, but your inaction with the DCPD is outrageous. Cathy you fire someone or you are next! You can only take so much inaction before it bites you! The gays in DC are sick of your inaction on these hateful officers who have no respect. Stop this bullshit Cathy! You’re a great person and a good chief but this is enough. Otherwise I’m starting a hate campaign on you. So that every time you’re in public the gays will be like the Westboro Baptists when you appear. Cathy enough of the talk and action now!

    Mr. Muckle, and SAFEWAY, I spoke to you a few years back over an incident at your SW store near Arena Stage, and I got a great response. As for the staff at this store you need not fire a few of them so that they know no matter what the person looks like, smells like, or acts like, everyone deserves respect. The security you had on site need to be fired ASAP! I don’t want to hear any excuses!!! Otherwise Mr. Muckle the Hate Campaign on SAFEWAY begins today! There are enough gays in this town to put your silly ass store out of business so wake the F up! Safeway has a bad reputation with DC to begin with, so get your shit together or you’re out. We can stop your expansion; we can stop your company in many ways. Mr. Muckle you were warned that last time this happen this would not be acceptable!

    Furthermore, let this girl approach me at that Safeway. I’ll kick her ass so far down L St she’ll end up in Maryland. I cannot understand how she could have walked away with so many people there and security and management. It’s outrageous, but typical of the low life people living in DC that don’t give a rat ass about each other. DC wake up and watch out and take care of your fellow man. Otherwise this city is going to fall into the abyss again just like the 60’S when everyone who was a normal human left!

  39. Claro

    July 9, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I sent an email to [email protected]

  40. brians ions

    July 9, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Barrie, please understand that MPD’s rank-and-file officers are good, dedicated professionals trying to save their jobs and careers by obeying the wishes of their district commanders — all of whom are overseen and appointed by MPD’s chiefs (Lanier and Groomes).
     
    DC’s Police Union has been highly supportive of its LGBT officers and MPD’s GLLU unit.

    And even the chiefs have to answer to Gray, Mendelson, Wells and Council’s J-PS Committee Members. So part of the larger problem is both SYSTEMIC and POLITICAL.
     
    In other words, part of the problem is “we the people.” We should be demanding of all mayoral and Council candidates that DC go to a POLICE COMMISSION organization to address the persistent, systemic problem.
     
    I suspect the officer involved in the initial response in this case is not hateful at all. He is likely just overworked, disrespected and expected to perform his professional service in an unethical, dismissive manner by his MPD superiors.
     
    How would you like to be suddenly forced to work summer weekends away from and/or disrupting your loved ones without any OT pay? That’s what Lanier and Groomes are forcing them to do with their unlawful AHODs … along with massive sworn force shortages, to boot.
     
    So let’s remember always, don’t blame the working professionals at MPD for the bad management of their higher-ups.

  41. Jenna Fischetti

    July 9, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Really? One of four officers was less than polite?

    http://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/08/27/off-duty-d-c-cop-arrested-for-shooting-trans-women/

    Try being transgender in DC….

    A 900 word article on rude police and indifferent bystanders…. where is the news?

  42. Jenna Fischetti

    July 9, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    4 trans women were murdered last month in the United States, one of which in Baltimore and the Blade carried 491 words on the updated story.

    The issue is perspective. Or the lack of proportion of the ability to properly place these news items in perspective.

  43. Johnny West

    July 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Alejandro Asín Just telling the truth, call it what you want.

  44. Johnny West

    July 9, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Alejandro Asín Just telling the truth, call it what you want.

  45. Monica Miller

    July 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Two DCs. LGBT people are still marginalized, or worse, among the less affluent, predominantly AA, populations in NEDC and East of the River. In the gentrified, predominantly white, parts of DC, there are no issues whatsoever. Transwomen get killed East of the River. They get killed by ignorant and violent young AA men. We go wherever we want in Upper Northwest. And there is always tension between the two DCs. And, perhaps, among the low-paid predominantly black working class clerks working in the Safeway, there may not be tons of sympathy for white collar LGBT people, like me, or like the victim, who come in to buy kale and chardonnay. Could the police do better? Sure, although I do think the DC police have come a very long ways in improving their treatment of LGBT people, this story reflects a deep cultural divide more than anything else.

  46. Monica Miller

    July 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    Two DCs. LGBT people are still marginalized, or worse, among the less affluent, predominantly AA, populations in NEDC and East of the River. In the gentrified, predominantly white, parts of DC, there are no issues whatsoever. Transwomen get killed East of the River. They get killed by ignorant and violent young AA men. We go wherever we want in Upper Northwest. And there is always tension between the two DCs. And, perhaps, among the low-paid predominantly black working class clerks working in the Safeway, there may not be tons of sympathy for white collar LGBT people, like me, or like the victim, who come in to buy kale and chardonnay. Could the police do better? Sure, although I do think the DC police have come a very long ways in improving their treatment of LGBT people, this story reflects a deep cultural divide more than anything else.

  47. Mark Nilsson

    July 10, 2014 at 1:06 am

    This calls for a BOYCOTT of SAFEWAY!

  48. Mark Nilsson

    July 10, 2014 at 1:07 am

    They were getting doughnuts..

  49. Alejandro Asín

    July 10, 2014 at 4:47 am

    Johnny West The truth would be to state that any person could do something like this, including but not limited to a white person. Your fallacious statement is nothing but a stereotype and is an example of how we are certainly not in a post-racial society.

    We should be focusing on reducing bigotry rather than perpetuating it. Such a shame to see somebody who's possibly in the LGBT community being so narrow-minded.

  50. Ted

    July 10, 2014 at 10:08 am

    Let me guess..I’ll bet the manager and guards who ALLOWED her to escape are Black as well. By allowing her to go free and evade capture, they put their own stamps of approval on this assault. Secondly, the apathetic response by the police simply pours more salt in the victim’s wounds.To set the record straight here, I am Black and straight. Don’t think for a minute that because I am that I don’t care. This is an outrage and apparently things haven’t changed much in the Nation’s Capital. I lived in the DC area several years back and can say for a fact that the IS reverse discrimination against both Whites and Latinos. If you want your voices to be heard regarding this incident, vote with your wallets and pocketbooks. Don’t shop at a place that not only encourages this behavior, but denies it’s existence by refusing to respond and acknowledge.

  51. anonymous

    July 10, 2014 at 10:15 am

    I am an employee and this whole incident has been edited!!!! this is in no way no shape no form or size a discriminating crime besides the unidentified woman being labeled as a gang affiliate maybe this is a hate crime because of course she is an African American this guy appears to be a victim only because she fled the scene. she was at customer service she was already there he walked up and possibly asked if she was in line I mean it had to be obvious if not why ask on the footage it clearly shows she was at the service center not just standing in the middle of the store or aisle. any who moving on she gestured for him to go pass he may have accidentally stepped on her shoe and brushed passed her in a forceful manner she moved up he pushed her and she punched him twice he then pulled her by her hair as if she was a mange dog or a wild horse for at least one minute before pulling her down into a head lock while still holding her by her hair. her exact words while exiting was “punk ass” not faggot… but he’s no saint he also shouted suck my dick several times. not only is his statement edited but so is this video to fully understand and see all aspects of this incident the video should be aired racism still exists!!!!!!!

    • You Lie

      July 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      ^^ this message is completely a lie. Bring the tape to the public eye. Not one part of this is the truth. Nice try Safeway. Nice try. The community won’t let this die.

      • brians ions

        July 11, 2014 at 5:47 pm

        Yep. This is pretty obvious. But it is not likely Safeway that is doing the ‘shilling’ here.
         
        Like I said, MPD doesn’t lie– nor manipulate the news media very credibly. MPD’s PR mavens have been getting away with it for so long, they actually think they are doing it well. 
         
        Prompted by MPD-HQ (the Chief’s Office), “news commentary” shills have been known to add their own ‘anonymous’ or pseudonym commentary to make MPD and/or its chiefs look good. The Chief even had to apologize to me once for comparable MPD conduct on MPD’s own Fifth District Listserv– with a number of Council witnesses. 
         
        At that time, she promised me MPD would try to do better. It hasn’t.

  52. karatechick1981

    July 18, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    60 years ago, she would have been the victim of a hate crime.

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Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead

No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise

Published

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Despite having President Biden in the White House and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress, efforts to update federal civil rights laws to strengthen the prohibition on discrimination against LGBTQ people by passing the Equality Act are all but dead as opponents of the measure have contorted it beyond recognition.

Political willpower is lacking to find a compromise that would be acceptable to enough Republican senators to end a filibuster on the bill — a tall order in any event — nor is there the willpower to force a vote on the Equality Act as opponents stoke fears about transgender kids in sports and not even unanimity in the Democratic caucus in favor of the bill is present, stakeholders who spoke to the Blade on condition of anonymity said.

In fact, there are no imminent plans to hold a vote on the legislation even though Pride month is days away, which would be an opportune time for Congress to demonstrate solidarity with the LGBTQ community by holding a vote on the legislation.

If the Equality Act were to come up for a Senate vote in the next month, it would not have the support to pass. Continued assurances that bipartisan talks are continuing on the legislation have yielded no evidence of additional support, let alone the 10 Republicans needed to end a filibuster.

“I haven’t really heard an update either way, which is usually not good,” one Democratic insider said. “My understanding is that our side was entrenched in a no-compromise mindset and with [Sen. Joe] Manchin saying he didn’t like the bill, it doomed it this Congress. And the bullying of hundreds of trans athletes derailed our message and our arguments of why it was broadly needed.”

The only thing keeping the final nail from being hammered into the Equality Act’s coffin is the unwillingness of its supporters to admit defeat. Other stakeholders who spoke to the Blade continued to assert bipartisan talks are ongoing, strongly pushing back on any conclusion the legislation is dead.

Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said the Equality Act is “alive and well,” citing widespread public support he said includes “the majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents and a growing number of communities across the country engaging and mobilizing every day in support of the legislation.”

“They understand the urgent need to pass this bill and stand up for LGBTQ people across our country,” David added. “As we engage with elected officials, we have confidence that Congress will listen to the voices of their constituents and continue fighting for the Equality Act through the lengthy legislative process.  We will also continue our unprecedented campaign to grow the already-high public support for a popular bill that will save lives and make our country fairer and more equal for all. We will not stop until the Equality Act is passed.”

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), chief sponsor of the Equality Act in the Senate, also signaled through a spokesperson work continues on the legislation, refusing to give up on expectations the legislation would soon become law.

“Sen. Merkley and his staff are in active discussions with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to try to get this done,” McLennan said. “We definitely see it as a key priority that we expect to become law.”

A spokesperson Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who had promised to force a vote on the Equality Act in the Senate on the day the U.S. House approved it earlier this year, pointed to a March 25 “Dear Colleague” letter in which he identified the Equality Act as one of several bills he’d bring up for a vote.

Despite any assurances, the hold up on the bill is apparent. Although the U.S. House approved the legislation earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee hasn’t even reported out the bill yet to the floor in the aftermath of the first-ever Senate hearing on the bill in March. A Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic aide, however, disputed that inaction as evidence the Equality Act is dead in its tracks: “Bipartisan efforts on a path forward are ongoing.”

Democrats are quick to blame Republicans for inaction on the Equality Act, but with Manchin withholding his support for the legislation they can’t even count on the entirety of their caucus to vote “yes” if it came to the floor. Progressives continue to advocate an end to the filibuster to advance legislation Biden has promised as part of his agenda, but even if they were to overcome headwinds and dismantle the institution needing 60 votes to advance legislation, the Equality Act would likely not have majority support to win approval in the Senate with a 50-50 party split.

The office of Manchin, who has previously said he couldn’t support the Equality Act over concerns about public schools having to implement the transgender protections applying to sports and bathrooms, hasn’t responded to multiple requests this year from the Blade on the legislation and didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article.

Meanwhile, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who declined to co-sponsor the Equality Act this year after having signed onto the legislation in the previous Congress, insisted through a spokesperson talks are still happening across the aisle despite the appearances the legislation is dead.

“There continues to be bipartisan support for passing a law that protects the civil rights of Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Annie Clark, a Collins spokesperson. “The Equality Act was a starting point for negotiations, and in its current form, it cannot pass. That’s why there are ongoing discussions among senators and stakeholders about a path forward.”

Let’s face it: Anti-LGBTQ forces have railroaded the debate by making the Equality Act about an end to women’s sports by allowing transgender athletes and danger to women in sex-segregated places like bathrooms and prisons. That doesn’t even get into resolving the issue on drawing the line between civil rights for LGBTQ people and religious freedom, which continues to be litigated in the courts as the U.S. Supreme Court is expected any day now to issue a ruling in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia to determine if foster care agencies can reject same-sex couples over religious objections.

For transgender Americans, who continue to report discrimination and violence at high rates, the absence of the Equality Act may be most keenly felt.

Mara Keisling, outgoing executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, disputed any notion the Equality Act is dead and insisted the legislation is “very much alive.”

“We remain optimistic despite misinformation from the opposition,” Keisling said. “NCTE and our movement partners are still working fruitfully on the Equality Act with senators. In fact, we are gaining momentum with all the field organizing we’re doing, like phone banking constituents to call their senators. Legislating takes time. Nothing ever gets through Congress quickly. We expect to see a vote during this Congress, and we are hopeful we can win.”

But one Democratic source said calls to members of Congress against the Equality Act, apparently coordinated by groups like the Heritage Foundation, have has outnumbered calls in favor of it by a substantial margin, with a particular emphasis on Manchin.

No stories are present in the media about same-sex couples being kicked out of a restaurant for holding hands or transgender people for using the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which would be perfectly legal in 25 states thanks to the patchwork of civil rights laws throughout the United States and inadequate protections under federal law.

Tyler Deaton, senior adviser for the American Unity Fund, which has bolstered the Republican-led Fairness for All Act as an alternative to the Equality Act, said he continues to believe the votes are present for a compromise form of the bill.

“I know for a fact there is a supermajority level of support in the Senate for a version of the Equality Act that is fully protective of both LGBTQ civil rights and religious freedom,” Deaton said. “There is interest on both sides of the aisle in getting something done this Congress.”

Deaton, however, didn’t respond to a follow-up inquiry on what evidence exists of agreeing on this compromise.

Biden has already missed the goal he campaigned on in the 2020 election to sign the Equality Act into law within his first 100 days in office. Although Biden renewed his call to pass the legislation in his speech to Congress last month, as things stand now that appears to be a goal he won’t realize for the remainder of this Congress.

Nor has the Biden administration made the Equality Act an issue for top officials within the administration as it pushes for an infrastructure package as a top priority. One Democratic insider said Louisa Terrell, legislative affairs director for the White House, delegated work on the Equality Act to a deputy as opposed to handling it herself.

To be sure, Biden has demonstrated support for the LGBTQ community through executive action at an unprecedented rate, signing an executive order on day one ordering federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last year in Bostock v. Clayton County to the fullest extent possible and dismantling former President Trump’s transgender military ban. Biden also made historic LGBTQ appointments with the confirmation of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Rachel Levine as assistant secretary of health.

A White House spokesperson insisted Biden’s team across the board remains committed to the Equality Act, pointing to his remarks to Congress.

“President Biden has urged Congress to get the Equality Act to his desk so he can sign it into law and provide long overdue civil rights protections to LGBTQ+ Americans, and he remains committed to seeing this legislation passed as quickly as possible,” the spokesperson said. “The White House and its entire legislative team remains in ongoing and close coordination with organizations, leaders, members of Congress, including the Equality Caucus, and staff to ensure we are working across the aisle to push the Equality Act forward.”

But at least in the near-term, that progress will fall short of fulfilling the promise of updating federal civil rights law with the Equality Act, which will mean LGBTQ people won’t be able to rely on those protections when faced with discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

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D.C. bill to ban LGBTQ panic defense delayed by Capitol security

Delivery of bill to Congress was held up due to protocols related to Jan. 6 riots

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New fencing around the Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented some D.C. bills from being delivered to the Hill for a required congressional review. (Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A bill approved unanimously last December by the D.C. Council to ban the so-called LGBTQ panic defense has been delayed from taking effect as a city law because the fence installed around the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 insurrection prevented the law from being delivered to Congress.

According to Eric Salmi, communications director for D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who guided the bill through the Council’s legislative process, all bills approved by the Council and signed by the D.C. mayor must be hand-delivered to Congress for a required congressional review.

“What happened was when the Capitol fence went up after the January insurrection, it created an issue where we physically could not deliver laws to Congress per the congressional review period,” Salmi told the Washington Blade.

Among the bills that could not immediately be delivered to Congress was the Bella Evangelista and Tony Hunter Panic Defense Prohibition and Hate Crimes Response Amendment Act of 2020, which was approved by the Council on a second and final vote on Dec. 15.

Between the time the bill was signed by Mayor Muriel Bowser and published in the D.C. Register under procedural requirements for all bills, it was not ready to be transmitted to Congress until Feb. 16, the Council’s legislative record for the bill shows.

Salmi said the impasse in delivering the bill to Congress due to the security fence prevented the bill from reaching Congress on that date and prevented the mandatory 60-day congressional review period for this bill from beginning at that time. He noted that most bills require a 30 legislative day review by Congress.

But the Evangelista-Hunter bill, named after a transgender woman and a gay man who died in violent attacks by perpetrators who attempted to use the trans and gay panic defense, includes a law enforcement related provision that under the city’s Home Rule Charter passed by Congress in the early 1970s requires a 60-day congressional review.

“There is a chance it goes into effect any day now, just given the timeline is close to being up,” Salmi said on Tuesday. “I don’t know the exact date it was delivered, but I do know the countdown is on,” said Salmi, who added, “I would expect any day now it should go into effect and there’s nothing stopping it other than an insurrection in January.”

If the delivery to Congress had not been delayed, the D.C. Council’s legislative office estimated the congressional review would have been completed by May 12.

A congressional source who spoke on condition of being identified only as a senior Democratic aide, said the holdup of D.C. bills because of the Capitol fence has been corrected.

“The House found an immediate workaround, when this issue first arose after the Jan. 6 insurrection,” the aide said.

“This is yet another reason why D.C. Council bills should not be subject to a congressional review period and why we need to grant D.C. statehood,” the aide said.

The aide added that while no disapproval resolution had been introduced in Congress to overturn the D.C. Evangelista-Hunter bill, House Democrats would have defeated such a resolution.

“House Democrats support D.C. home rule, statehood, and LGBTQ rights,” said the aide.

LGBTQ rights advocates have argued that a ban on using a gay or transgender panic defense in criminal trials is needed to prevent defense attorneys from inappropriately asking juries to find that a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression is to blame for a defendant’s criminal act, including murder.

Some attorneys have argued that their clients “panicked” after discovering the person against whom they committed a violent crime was gay or transgender, prompting them to act in a way they believed to be a form of self-defense.

In addition to its provision banning the LGBTQ panic defense, the Evangelista-Hunter bill includes a separate provision that strengthens the city’s existing hate crimes law by clarifying that hatred need not be the sole motivating factor for an underlying crime such as assault, murder, or threats to be prosecuted as a hate crime.

LGBTQ supportive prosecutors have said the clarification was needed because it is often difficult to prove to a jury that hatred is the only motive behind a violent crime. The prosecutors noted that juries have found defendants not guilty of committing a hate crime on grounds that they believed other motives were involved in a particular crime after defense lawyers argued that the law required “hate” to be the only motive in order to find someone guilty of a hate crime.

Salmi noted that while the hate crime clarification and panic defense prohibition provisions of the Evangelista-Hunter bill will become law as soon as the congressional review is completed, yet another provision in the bill will not become law after the congressional review because there are insufficient funds in the D.C. budget to cover the costs of implementing the provision.

The provision gives the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Office of the D.C. Attorney General authority to investigate hate related discrimination at places of public accommodation. Salmi said the provision expands protections against discrimination to include web-based retailers or online delivery services that are not physically located in D.C.

“That is subject to appropriations,” Salmi said. “And until it is funded in the upcoming budget it cannot be legally enforced.”

He said that at Council member Allen’s request, the Council added language to the bill that ensures that all other provisions of the legislation that do not require additional funding – including the ban on use of the LGBTQ panic defense and the provision clarifying that hatred doesn’t have to be the sole motive for a hate crime – will take effect as soon as the congressional approval process is completed.

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D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested

Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011

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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

A D.C. man arrested in August 2020 for allegedly threatening to kill a gay man outside the victim’s apartment in the city’s Adams Morgan neighborhood and who was released while awaiting trial was arrested again two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill another man in an unrelated incident.

D.C. Superior Court records show that Jalal Malki, who was 37 at the time of his 2020 arrest on a charge of bias-related attempts to do bodily harm against the gay man, was charged on May 4, 2021 with unlawful entry, simple assault, threats to kidnap and injure a person, and attempted possession of a prohibited weapon against the owner of a vacant house at 4412 Georgia Ave., N.W.

Court charging documents state that Malki was allegedly staying at the house without permission as a squatter. An arrest affidavit filed in court by D.C. police says Malki allegedly threatened to kill the man who owns the house shortly after the man arrived at the house while Malki was inside.

According to the affidavit, Malki walked up to the owner of the house while the owner was sitting in his car after having called police and told him, “If you come back here, I’m going to kill you.” While making that threat Malki displayed what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, but which was later found to be a toy gun, the affidavit says.

Malki then walked back inside the house minutes before police arrived and arrested him. Court records show that similar to the court proceedings following his 2020 arrest for threatening the gay man, a judge in the latest case ordered Malki released while awaiting trial. In both cases, the judge ordered him to stay away from the two men he allegedly threatened to kill.

An arrest affidavit filed by D.C. police in the 2020 case states that Malki allegedly made the threats inside an apartment building where the victim lived on the 2300 block of Champlain Street, N.W. It says Malki was living in a nearby building but often visited the building where the victim lived.

“Victim 1 continued to state during an interview that it was not the first time that Defendant 1 had made threats to him, but this time Defendant 1 stated that if he caught him outside, he would ‘fucking kill him.’” the affidavit says. It quotes the victim as saying during this time Malki repeatedly called the victim a “fucking faggot.”

The affidavit, prepared by the arresting officers, says that after the officers arrested Malki and were leading him to a police transport vehicle to be booked for the arrest, he expressed an “excited utterance” that he was “in disbelief that officers sided with the ‘fucking faggot.’”

Court records show that Malki is scheduled to appear in court on June 4 for a status hearing for both the 2020 arrest and the arrest two weeks ago for allegedly threatening to kill the owner of the house in which police say he was illegally squatting.

Superior Court records show that Malki had been arrested three times between 2011 and 2015 in cases unrelated to the 2021 and 2020 cases for allegedly also making threats of violence against people. Two of the cases appear to be LGBTQ related, but prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office did not list the cases as hate crimes.

In the first of the three cases, filed in July 2011, Malki allegedly shoved a man inside Dupont Circle and threatened to kill him after asking the man why he was wearing a purple shirt.

“Victim 1 believes the assault occurred because Suspect 1 believes Victim 1 is a homosexual,” the police arrest affidavit says.

Court records show prosecutors charged Malki with simple assault and threats to do bodily harm in the case. But the court records show that on Sept. 13, 2011, D.C. Superior Court Judge Stephen F. Eilperin found Malki not guilty on both charges following a non-jury trial.

The online court records do not state why the judge rendered a not guilty verdict. With the courthouse currently closed to the public and the press due to COVID-related restrictions, the Washington Blade couldn’t immediately obtain the records to determine the judge’s reason for the verdict.

In the second case, court records show Malki was arrested by D.C. police outside the Townhouse Tavern bar and restaurant at 1637 R St., N.W. on Nov. 7, 2012 for allegedly threatening one or more people with a knife after employees ordered Malki to leave the establishment for “disorderly behavior.”

At the time, the Townhouse Tavern was located next door to the gay nightclub Cobalt, which before going out of business two years ago, was located at the corner of 17th and R Streets, N.W.

The police arrest affidavit in the case says Malki allegedly pointed a knife in a threatening way at two of the tavern’s employees who blocked his path when he attempted to re-enter the tavern. The affidavit says he was initially charged by D.C. police with assault with a dangerous weapon – knife. Court records, however, show that prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office lowered the charges to two counts of simple assault. The records show that on Jan. 15, 2013, Malki pleaded guilty to the two charges as part of a plea bargain arrangement.

The records show that Judge Marissa Demeo on that same day issued a sentence of 30 days for each of the two charges but suspended all 30 days for both counts. She then sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for both charges and ordered that he undergo alcohol and drug testing and undergo treatment if appropriate.

In the third case prior to the 2020 and 2021 cases, court records show Malki was arrested outside the Cobalt gay nightclub on March 14, 2015 on multiple counts of simple assault, attempted assault with a dangerous weapon – knife, possession of a prohibited weapon – knife, and unlawful entry.

The arrest affidavit says an altercation started on the sidewalk outside the bar when for unknown reasons, Malki grabbed a female customer who was outside smoking and attempted to pull her toward him. When her female friend came to her aid, Malki allegedly got “aggressive” by threatening the woman and “removed what appeared to be a knife from an unknown location” and pointed it at the woman’s friend in a threatening way, the affidavit says.

It says a Cobalt employee minutes later ordered Malki to leave the area and he appeared to do so. But others noticed that he walked toward another entrance door to Cobalt and attempted to enter the establishment knowing he had been ordered not to return because of previous problems with his behavior, the affidavit says. When he attempted to push away another employee to force his way into Cobalt, Malki fell to the ground during a scuffle and other employees held him on the ground while someone else called D.C. police.

Court records show that similar to all of Malki’s arrests, a judge released him while awaiting trial and ordered him to stay away from Cobalt and all of those he was charged with threatening and assaulting.

The records show that on Sept. 18, 2015, Malki agreed to a plea bargain offer by prosecutors in which all except two of the charges – attempted possession of a prohibited weapon and simple assault – were dropped. Judge Alfred S. Irving Jr. on Oct. 2, 2015 sentenced Malki to 60 days of incarnation for each of the two charges but suspended all but five days, which he allowed Malki to serve on weekends, the court records show.

The judge ordered that the two five-day jail terms could be served concurrently, meaning just five days total would be served, according to court records. The records also show that Judge Irving sentenced Malki to one year of supervised probation for each of the two counts and ordered that he enter an alcohol treatment program and stay away from Cobalt.

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