May 14, 2015 at 10:00 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Metro mum on teen suspects linked to anti-gay assault
metro, gay news, Washington Blade

Investigators have identified two suspects linked to an April 11 incident at the Congress Heights Metro station. (Photo by elipatwood; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

A spokesperson for Metro Transit Police disclosed on April 15 that investigators had identified two juvenile suspects linked to an April 11 incident at the Congress Heights Metro station in which a gay man was attacked and beaten while being called anti-gay names.

The 23-year-old victim suffered a concussion, broken jaw and loosened teeth at the hands of four male suspects who assaulted him inside the station at about 10:45 p.m., according to a police report.

Nearly one month later, neither Metro Police nor D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who is in charge of prosecuting juvenile offenders, have disclosed whether the two juvenile males, ages 16 and 17, have been arrested or prosecuted under the city’s juvenile justice system.

On April 22, Metro spokesperson Morgan Dye told the Blade the two suspects had not been arrested at that time. She said a juvenile court proceeding known as a Pre-Petition Custody Order (PPCO) hearing was expected to be held the following week to determine how the case should proceed.

But since that time Dye said she has been unable to determine from Metro Transit Police whether arrests have been made in the case. Detectives were seeking to identity at least one more suspect, she said.

The victim, who has asked that his name not be disclosed, told the Blade he was invited to a meeting with a Metro Transit detective and a representative of the Attorney General’s Office on April 28.

“They asked me if I want to press charges and I said yes I do want press charges,” he said. “They have my medical records from the hospital,” the victim said. “I signed papers to have them released.”

He noted that he underwent emergency surgery to reset a broken jaw, which included the wiring of the jaw in a closed position to allow the bone to heal.

The Attorney General’s representative told him he would likely be called to testify in court, but as of Tuesday he had not heard back from anyone, he said.

Robert Marus, a spokesperson for the D.C. Attorney General’s Office, said his office could not comment on any juvenile case, including whether or not an arrest has been made, under the city’s strict confidentiality rules pertaining to juvenile offenders.

LGBT activists following cases of anti-LGBT violence have expressed concern over past cases in which authorities declined to disclose whether juveniles implicated in anti-LGBT assaults were prosecuted and, if so, what the outcome of the case was. Some activists have asked why this information could not be disclosed as long as the names and identities of the juvenile defendants remain confidential.

Racine won election in November as the city’s first elected independent attorney general. He told the Blade during his election campaign that he would look into ways to provide more information on juvenile cases while complying with existing rules and statutes that require confidentiality.

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

  • The answer may be pretty obvious. Said authorities are probably covering up the fact that they’re not prosecuting hate crimes assaults involving juveniles. It’s not hard to hide inaction behind the juvenile confidentiality code.

    Somebody ought to cite that code, too, so folks can actually look it up and see what it says. Sometime police will imply prohibitions on their pursuit that aren’t in fact true.

    One fairly obvious question is how can victims of DC’s Hate Crimes Law seek to recover civil damages from parents or guardians of those juvenile perpetrators– without knowing who to contact? DC’s hate crimes law has a civil component that is not dependent on a criminal determination by police, nor upon a criminal verdict.

    Another question… did the victim seek to speak to anyone at MPD or MPD’s GLLU? If so what was his experience? Does MPD have any jurisdiction at all? Who is the lead detective of record at MTP on the case? That is, who would possible witnesses contact to provide additional info to MTP?
    “Some activists have asked why this information could not be disclosed as long as the names and identities of the juvenile defendants remain confidential.”

    • A court order requiring the authorities to disclose the parents’ names – to enable a civil suit against them – would trump any “strict confidentiality rules” the city’s Department of Coverups & Denials might concoct.

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