The waiting rooms for a doctor’s visit on the third, fourth and fifth floors of Whitman-Walker Health’s new, six-story health center building at 1525 14th St., N.W. feature floor-to-ceiling windows, comfortable cushioned chairs and brightly colored carpeting.
With light streaming through the windows, the calming atmosphere in the waiting rooms is just one of the many new features that Whitman-Walker officials say the 43,000-square-foot facility will provide to enhance the mission of providing quality health care for the D.C. community, with a special outreach to the LGBT community and those with HIV.
“The new health center is designed around fundamental values of affirmation, vibrancy, dignity, and respect,” a statement released by Whitman-Walker says.
“We aim to improve the health of the communities we serve, expand program offerings to focus on our patients’ overall health outcomes and expand our community leadership role in LGBT health and HIV care in D.C.,” the statement says.
Whitman-Walker spokesperson Shawn Jain said the new health center was expected to open for patients on May 18, with a grand opening ceremony scheduled for June 4.
The current Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center used by Whitman-Walker, which is located on 14th Street less than two blocks from the new building, will be retained for administrative services and some programs, including the longstanding free STD clinic.
The new medical center, which Jain said Whitman-Walker officials refer to only as the “1525” building, is being rented under a 10-year lease from the Furiouso Development Company, which built the structure.
The total build-out costs for Whitman-Walker, which covered the interior structure and furnishings, came to $9.8 million, according to the Whitman-Walker statement.
“Whitman-Walker Health funded these costs through cash reserves, tenant improvement funds included in our lease, and some borrowing,” the statement says.
“Such a major capital investment is a multi-generational decision that will impact our patients for 20 or more years to come,” the statement adds.
As part of a major expansion of its programs, the new building includes 28 medical examination rooms, nine dental suites, an expanded pharmacy on the first floor and health and wellness suites and a large physical therapy room on the second floor.
The pharmacy, which takes up the entire first floor, will be open to the public and will provide same-day home delivery services for prescription medication, Jain said. He said it would also sell over-the-counter drugs.
The health and wellness facility will offer yoga classes and massage services. Also opening soon on the second floor will be a travel clinic that will provide vaccinations for those planning to travel abroad.
Floors three through five will include state-of-the-art medical examination rooms. Jain and Whitman-Walker community relations director Justin Goforth, who took a Blade reporter and photographer on a tour of the new building, said medical testing equipment used by doctors such as blood pressure measuring devices are linked directly to the center’s extensive electronic patient record system.
The two said Whitman-Walker retained an architectural and interior design firm to develop a setting on all floors to facilitate patient privacy as well as a patient-affirming atmosphere that minimizes the stigma that in the past has adversely impacted HIV patients.
They said the careful attention to the interior settings would be especially beneficial to patients of the mental health and addiction counseling programs, with most behavior therapy rooms having comfortable, cushioned seating and windows that allow natural light to illuminate the rooms.
The only patient areas without windows are the nine dental suites, which are located in the building’s basement level. To offset a lack of natural light, the interior design consultants took steps to provide cheerful furnishings and wall coverings that might be found in a home or apartment.
At Whitman-Walker’s request, the new building was designed as a “green” facility, with environmentally friendly materials and furnishings, according to Jain. Soil with growing grass has been placed on the roof and other outside spaces along the sides of the building.
All of the new building’s bathrooms are gender-neutral, single occupancy spaces, Jain said.
With the opening of the new building, Whitman-Walker has already increased its medical, dental and behavioral health provider staff along with customer service representatives and other support staff, Jain and Goforth said.
“Whitman-Walker Health ended 2014 with about 170 employees, the statement discussing the new building says. “We expect to have about 250 by the end of 2015.”
Similar to the Elizabeth Taylor Building, Whitman-Walker’s Max Robinson Center medical building in Anacostia will remain open, Jain said. He said the Metro Teen AIDS program, which was an independent organization that merged with Whitman-Walker Health last year, will for the time being continue operating at its offices on Capitol Hill near the Eastern Market Metro station.
Whitman-Walker Health, which was founded in 1978 as the Whitman-Walker Clinic, operates as it had at the time of its founding, as a non-profit organization with a special outreach to the LGBT community.
The following is a Q&A with Don Blanchon, executive director of Whitman-Walker Health.
Washington Blade: Why did Whitman-Walker decide to move ahead with this new building and what will be its significance on your ability to care for your patients?
Don Blanchon: For me it comes down to how particularly the metro D.C.’s LGBT communities are moving forward towards full equality. And Whitman-Walker has been a part of that movement for what – four decades now? And as those communities move forward so does Whitman-Walker’s role in caring for the people in those communities.
And so if you look at what we’re doing it’s a natural evolution to serve patients in a dignified, respectful and affirming way. And it makes for me so much sense to be able to provide the highest quality care to these communities who have been with us in some places for more than 30 years. It really kind of at the end of the day mirrors how the community is moving forward.
And if you look at our buildings over the years and you’ve seen what they looked like – we’ve been in renovated space and converted space and what have you. And now in 2015 we’re going to operate a modern facility designed specifically for patients’ health care needs specifically around the values of affirmation, vibrancy, dignity, and respect. But at the end of the day it really is the reflection of how we’re moving towards equality. And every person from every walk of life who comes through that new building is going to feel that they’re treated well and that they’re treated with dignity and respect. We believe that those are really important values for us to express.
And as you know, it’s more than just a building. It’s how we treat people and take care of people.
Blade: Can you say a little about what made this possible in terms of the financing? Was it due in large part to the organizational changes you made when you first became head of Whitman-Walker?
Blanchon: You’ve got the financial number in which the project is going to cost us roughly $9.8 million. And so there are really three buckets or pools of funding that have gone on to pay for the build out of the building. And the first bucket is cash reserves. We’ve had now five years in a row of operating surpluses at Whitman-Walker. So we were able to build up some cash reserves and be able to use those to pay for a portion of this. We had some tenant improvement funding in the long-term lease that we have.
Blade: Can you explain what tenant improvement funds are?
Blanchon: Conventionally when an organization signs a lease with the building owner often times the building owner will extend some tenant improvement dollars, which in effect allows the tenant to do some build out of the space…So this in effect is just another funding pool as part of our agreement with the owner on the lease.
And then the third area is we did some borrowing on the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center property, which has a good value in the community.
Blade: Was there a mortgage on that?
Blanchon: The building has been unencumbered in that it has no kind of debt on it prior to this project. So we basically had the property free and clear. And so what we did was some borrowing on that, and those three funding pools basically get us to what we need to do. And remember, we will move our health care team down to the new location at 1525. We’ll still have other programs – some health related, some administrative and support related here at the Elizabeth Taylor Center.
Blade: But the underlying actions that made it possible for you to have cash reserves and a budget surplus – wasn’t that some type of change in the model or structure of the organization?
Blanchon: Yes. We moved from what people called traditionally an AIDS service organization to a community health center model.
Blade: And that meant you can take health insurance and Medicaid?
Blanchon: We take health insurance. And again, this isn’t solely – I come back to this all the time. Whitman-Walker lives in a community that is constantly moving forward and changing. More of our patients, particularly those living with HIV, in the mid-2000s were becoming insured. They had Medicaid, they had Medicare. They had something else. So it just made kind of good sense for us to take insurance because we would be able to collect revenue for the care we were providing. And so the whole reason we made the switch from an AIDS service organization to a health center model was really because the practicalities of our patients were now insured.
And when I say that, Medicaid and Medicare are still the two largest insurers for us. So about 60 percent of our patients are insured either by Medicaid or Medicare.
Blade: So you’ve got a substantial number of seniors who are on Medicare?
Blanchon: It runs about 42 [percent] Medicaid, 18 [percent] Medicare and then about another 30 [percent] are commercially insured and the final 10 [percent] are self-paid and other categories. But a big chunk is Medicaid and Medicare. The next biggest chunk, obviously, is commercial.
Blade: By commercial do you mean private health insurance?
Blanchon: Private health insurance is the way you’d say it, yes. And so the change that actually got us the operating surplus was this model – the move from an AIDS service organization to a health center model. It allowed us to basically get another funding stream – obviously health insurance revenue, public and private, into Whitman-Walker. And by doing that we were able to shore up what we did.
And we were very thoughtful over the last three to five years on, OK, how do we want to do this? Where do we want to be located? And what’s the statement we’re trying to make to the community and to the patients we care for. And it’s really about trying to help people live happier and healthier lives and trying to treat them in a very affirming and dignified and respectful way.
Blade: What prompted you and the board to go with the arrangement you have in the 1525 14th Street site?
Blanchon: The really simple way to look at this is that in 2012, when our board thought through how we approach the fact that we’re growing – the number of patients we’re seeing is a growing number. And at some time we would have capacity issues at the Elizabeth Taylor Center site, which we knew we would have largely at the beginning of 2016 based on our analysis. So we faced this issue of do we build on the Elizabeth Taylor site, in which there was some patient and employee safety issues? We would be providing health care here and service here and would you really construct around it? That’s always a challenge.
And the other two options were to buy another site on the [14th Street] corridor or to lease space. We actually did look at another site but we were unable to reach an agreement with a developer on another site to buy outright. And then we ultimately elected to enter into a long-term lease with Georgio Furiouso. It was a thoughtful process.
And I come back to – you saw Martha’s Table and you saw Central Mission leave the corridor. This place is home for Whitman-Walker. The Dupont-Logan Circle area has been the center of gay life for 50 years in the District – 40 years in the District. And we felt really strongly that we needed to stay here. And we also know how accessible we are on 14th Street. We’re in between two Metro stops. We get Metro bus service. We’re just in a really accessible and vibrant place. We felt really strongly that we needed to kind of stay in the place that we call home.
And I can’t overstate that because clearly every non-profit and every group has the decision when they have real estate that they could sell their real estate and move somewhere else. We really felt strongly about staying here because this is what we call home. So many of our patients walk to this health center. It’s just a practical reality that our patients want to have access to us and this is a really accessible and in this case it’s going to be a beautiful new space for them.
Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead
No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise
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.
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
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.
D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested
Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011
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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Va. businessman apologizes for burning of rainbow flag poster
Thanksgiving is a time to share
Fairfax schools returns LGBTQ-themed books in high school libraries
Matrimonio igualitario a un paso de ser ley en Chile
Forget streaming, the holiday classics return to area stages
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