December 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Graffiti in gay police unit office under investigation
Cheryl Crawley, gay news, Washington Blade

Lt. Cheryl Crawley, on left, said in an email that someone wrote ‘THE GLLU IS DEAD’ on a message board. (Washington Blade file photo by Damien Salas)

An internal D.C. police investigation is being conducted over an incident in which an unidentified person wrote the words “THE GLLU IS DEAD!!!!!” on a message board inside the offices of the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, according to sources familiar with the incident.

A public police report on the incident says GLLU Officer Kevin Johnson discovered the graffiti message at 10:15 p.m. on Dec. 9 on a “dry erase board” in the basement of the GLLU offices at 1369 Connecticut Ave., N.W.

The report says a crime scene officer from the Second District responded to the scene and took 14 photographs.

Sources familiar with the GLLU said Lt. Cheryl Crawley, who oversees the GLLU and three other special liaison units, told GLLU members and other officers in a Dec. 10 email that the incident was being investigated and changes would be made as a result of the incident to ensure the safety of GLLU members and the security of the office.

The sources said Crawley raised the possibility in her email that the GLLU office could be relocated to a police facility at 801 Shepherd St., N.W. while the internal investigation into the incident was taking place.

The Patrol Services and School Security Bureau are among the police divisions that are based in the Shepherd Street facility, which is in the Fourth District.

Lt. Sean Conboy, a police spokesperson, did not respond to the Washington Blade’s request by phone and email for comment on the development. Among the questions to which Conboy did not respond was whether evidence of a forced entry into the GLLU office was found in connection with the graffiti incident.

The graffiti incident occurred less than a month after Crawley informed GLLU members that three of the six GLLU officers assigned to the GLLU headquarters office had been detailed to perform street patrol duties in Chinatown from Nov. 20 to Jan. 3. Sources familiar with the department told the Blade the temporary redeployment would decrease the unit’s ability to respond to LGBT-related calls.

“They’re essentially out of commission,” one of the sources said of the GLLU following the Chinatown deployment.

D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has arranged for members of the GLLU and other specialized police units and divisions to be temporarily detailed to street patrol duties on a regular basis for many years. But police sources have said the detailing of GLLU members has occurred at a greater frequency in recent years, making it increasingly difficult for the unit to carry out its dual mission of helping to investigate LGBT-related crimes and reaching out to the LGBT community to build stronger LGBT-police relations.

At least two knowledgeable sources said morale among GLLU officers is at an all-time low and some of the unit’s officers are seeking to be transferred to other assignments.

Tension reportedly was heightened on Dec. 12 when Sgt. Gregory Chandler, a former administrative aide to Crawley at the Special Liaison Division, which Crawley heads, suggested in an email that the graffiti was written by a GLLU member who is killing the GLLU, sources familiar with the email said.

Chandler reportedly sent his email to members of all of the special liaison units, including the GLLU.

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

2 Comments
  • Holy cow! I've heard some REALLY tall tales from MPD over the years, but this one takes the cake for 99.99% pure, MPD-manufactured, unmitigated bullshot.
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    Now we've got to ask ourselves, WHY???
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    Why all the bullshot coming from SLD and MPD-HQ? Why the intentional GLLU-bashing leaks from Crawley's former assistant? Credible? NOT!!!
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    You notice, also, Chief Lanier withheld this story for a week. I'm sure the chief being able to avoid uncomfortable questions on stage after Muriel Bowser reappointed her two days ago was probably a 'I'm-so-clever' factor.
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    And maybe the chief probably enjoyed watching Bowser and Henderson dig themselves a deep, homophobic hole, arrogantly doubling down on their assaults against DCPS LGBT students, LGBT teachers and LGBT principals.
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    Whatever, here's the real deal. Unless it's to protect a serious criminal case, police chiefs are not suppose to manipulate the media and public with selective news releases. Police chiefs are not suppose to withhold news for long periods of time from residents, etc., etc. Pure and simple, it is unethical conduct for any police chief to do.
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    Media manipulation won out over MPD transparency for LGBT residents, again, in the instance.
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    Also… it's been a month since the Blade's report — which I didn't happen to catch at the time — but Chief Lanier also withheld for TWO WEEKS the news of Lt. Crawley's stealthy appointment as head of the SLD. That was amid very credible charges of on-the-job anti-gay harassment of LGBT officers within GLLU.
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    Really, I think it begins to to better explain this MPD pretext at GLLU's Dupont office.
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    Read all about that here … I've added additional opinion context and perspective, FWIW…
    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/11/11/chief-names-new-head-of-gay-police-unit-cheryl-crawley/
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    As to MPD-HQ's fantasy stories reported here, today — OMG, people! First, stop laughing at their clumsiness. And second — don't believe their underlying crap!
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    Gotta run. More later.
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    brian
    (Be careful! I think I injured myself ROTFL.)
    ;-D

  • The Blade has great reporters, but it also has terrific commentary from thoughtful readers. When the two clash, its seems the Blade's reporting just gets better and better. In three concise, consecutive paragraphs the motives for MPD's latest fiction become clear. So with that informative assist, I am pleased to offer this critique of …
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    ˙*****'Graffiti Caper'… A MPD Holiday Fantasy*****
    ======================================================
    ˙ "Sources familiar with the GLLU said Lt. Cheryl Crawley, who oversees the GLLU and three other special liaison units, told GLLU members and other officers in a Dec. 10 email that the incident was being investigated and changes would be made as a result of the incident to ensure the safety of GLLU members and the security of the office.
    ˙ The sources said Crawley raised the possibility in her email that the GLLU office could be relocated to a police facility at 801 Shepherd St., N.W. while the internal investigation into the incident was taking place.
    ˙ The Patrol Services and School Security Bureau are among the police divisions that are based in the Shepherd Street facility, which is in the Fourth District."
    ======================================================
    **just one guy's fantasy review and opinion***

    MPD's Fantasy Assault on GLLU's Dupont Office:
    Alleged 'Graffiti Case' is a Bizarre Pretext for Closing Convenient Dupont Safe-Haven for LGBT Victims

    Folks, it appears MPD is actually using 'mystery graffiti' on a white board as a PRETEXT — an excuse to shut down GLLU's easily accessible Dupont Circle office. And they're kinda implying it's a homeland security threat or some such, too.
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    Did some MPD honchos record NBC's Peter Pan — and have they been watching it every night ever since? This is sheer fantasy! Apparently, MPD's brass think all they need do is throw some fairy dust our way, and we'll believe anything they tell us.
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    Chief Lanier's new SLD pick, via a scary email alert warned that MPD-GLLU's may have to be RELOCATED for SECURITY reasons. Oh, my!
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    But has MPD called in the FBI yet for this graffiti caper? Has the White House and Secret Service been alerted? How about the NSA?
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    Hey! Maybe that dangerous gay principal at Wilson High is behind this outrage at MPD-GLLU's office!?!
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    Silly us. We thought Peter Cahall's sudden firing was a homophobic payback because he had the gall to don a Catania T-shirt at the Pride Parade.
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    BTW, have any of our LGBT public safety and civil rights organizations worked extensively with Lt. Crowley? You know, with actual police/ LGBT community LIAISON (GLLU-type) work?
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    Did Crawley have any prior experience with the Special Liaison Division at all?
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    And why has Chief Lanier once again DOWNGRADED Special Liaison Division's command, from a Captain's command to that of a Lieutenant?
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    The sad thing is that we've seen this "M.O." before from Chief Lanier. We've seen downgrading and harassment of GLLU officers before, too….
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    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2014/09/03/gay-police-units-members-assigned-new-patrol-duties/
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    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2011/05/26/civilian-bureaucrat-to-head-police-liaisons/
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    https://www.washingtonblade.com/2012/11/29/shutdown-of-gllu-website-raises-questions/
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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/mike-debonis/post/anti-lesbian-attack-renews-calls-on-police-liaison-unit/2011/08/17/gIQARjTGLJ_blog.html

    Reports/complaints of anti-LGBT employment harassment at GLLU and other MPD stations have been heard — for what … 7 or 8 years now?
    ˙
    How's this for a holiday fantasy…
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    Maybe Lt. Crawley is really unwittingly being used as a buffer between GLLU officers and MPD's brass now (post-election that is). Maybe no fairy dust is needed. But why would top brass at MPD need a buffer? Is another layer of defense needed for anti-LGBT employment discrimination?
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    This may simply be too much homophobic employment bias to digest in one week!
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    Whatever. I think this newest story is an unbelievable ruse by MPD — designed to provide a public cover story. And I think it's an excuse to close down MPD-GLLU's convenient, safe-haven Dupont office.
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    BTW, Shepherd Street is where Asst. Chief Diane Groomes is located. And it is way off any beaten path where LGBT Community Policing services are truly needed. What does that tell us about MPD's sincerity for LGBT victims of hate crimes, stalking crimes and domestic violence?
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    I've been to MPD's 801 Shepherd Street building. It's just as big, cold and foreboding as MPD's Building at Judiciary Square. I can't imagine victims of hate crimes, rape or battered domestic violence victims ever feeling comfortable there.
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    But it's a lot harder to get to that Shepherd St. building than GLLU's Dupont office, too.
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    Shepherd Street isn't easy to drive to — especially if you're unfamiliar with Petworth. And it's not a particularly easy, safe walk, especially at night, from the Green Line, which is over a quarter mile away.
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    But for a few irrelevant half-truths, MPD is just lying to the LGBT residents and stakeholders it is sworn to serve.
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    What is Muriel Bowser going to do about that? What is Phil Mendelson going to do about that? What are the other members of Council going to do about that?
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    It's unclear now, what the next act in this MPD fantasy play would be. More fairy dust please.
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    Chief Lanier has, over a number of years, quietly stripped GLLU of its ability to perform its original mission effectively. And now, Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser appears ready to join Lanier in a despicable final destruction of MPD-GLLU's policing service to DC's LGBT residents and stakeholders.
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    That is dishonest and corrupt government at its cynical worst. Like Pete Cahall's firing — and DCPS' hateful warning that action delivered to LGBTs throughout DC's school system — it also represents homophobic and transphobic governing at its worst.
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    While the motive for this corruption is gain of political power rather than gain of money, intentionally turning GLLU into a sham policing organization is still deceitful corruption of a very high order. MPD's top management is taking budget funds intended for GLLU and LGBT Community Policing and dishonestly applying them to other policing services.
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    Maybe we ought ask our Council for some serious oversight of MPD's and DCPS's anti-LGBT biased employment conduct. And quickly, too. At the rate this is going, lots of LGBT careers could be damaged before the new year makes it to Cherry Blossom time.
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