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.