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High hopes for White House conference on LGBT elder issues

Order barring anti-LGBT bias in nursing homes among requests

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Barack Obama, United States of America, White House, Democratic Party, Citizens Medal, gay news, Washington Blade
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President Obama is hosting a White House conference on aging Monday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Wallace Corbett has high hopes for the upcoming White House Conference on Aging.

The 54-year-old gay D.C. resident recalled an event for local seniors hosted by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser in which attendees responded to the screening of a gay-themed movie in a way that didn’t sit well with him.

“Many of the older people realized it was a gay movie and said, ‘We don’t attend things like that,'” Corbett said. “Those types of reactions from older people toward each other is just unacceptable.”

Corbett, who has worked 20 years registering people at the front desk of the radiology department at George Washington University, said the response at the event doesn’t bode well for older LGBT Americans who may be seeking housing or assisted living in a country with no federal law explicitly protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

“If you have those kinds of things going on [over] the simple thing of going to a movie and being educated, I can’t imagine what they would say if you were with your husband, or your wife, or lover, or friend, or partner to get housing as a couple,” Corbett said.

Even in places like D.C., which has a local law prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination, Corbett said employees need training so they either comply with the law when working with LGBT seniors or be removed from their posts. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide, Corbett said he hopes the decision clears up any inefficiencies.

“They need to have the same rights and they don’t need to feel a fear when they walk in the door,” he said.

Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE, or Services & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders, said the experience that Corbett observed and other issues are among the common kinds of problems facing LGBT Americans.

“They’re aging in isolation, which creates a great need for social services and support,” Adams said. “But, unfortunately, what we find, more often than not, is that the existing aging services world is not particularly welcoming to LGBT older people, so you have isolation and greater need for services.”

Older LGBT Americans are four times less likely to be parents than straight people in their same age groups, and twice as likely to be single and living alone in a country where children and parents are the primary caregivers, Adams said.

The rate of discrimination against LGBT older Americans is markedly high. According to a 2014 SAGE report, one-in-eight LGBT adults and one-in-four transgender adults say they were the victims of discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity when searching for housing.

But Adams said other problems facing LGBT elders stem not from social institutions, but fellow elders who aren’t part of the growing tide in support for LGBT rights.

“I think the real challenge is that if you look at public opinion polls in this country, the older people are, the more likely they are to harbor bias against LGBT people,” Adams said. “So what we see for LGBT elders is that when they’re in senior centers, when they’re in nursing homes, when they’re in assisted living, they are surrounded by other older people, and that is really in a sense a big part of that problem. It’s not even so much from staff that these institutions, it’s from other seniors, other elders.”

Issues like these are among the many issues facing LGBT elders that LGBT advocates hope receive attention during an upcoming White House Conference on Aging set for Monday. The event, which has taken place each decade at the White House since the 1960s, seeks to identify and advance actions to improve the quality of life for older Americans.

In addition to recognizing the 50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid and the Older Americans Act as well as the 80th anniversary of Social Security, the event is an opportunity to bring together older Americans, caregivers, government officials, the public and business leaders to discuss issues expected to shape the landscape for older Americans in the next decade, according to a White House announcement of the event.

Ahead of the conference, Adams said he’s seeking action on behalf of LGBT elders from the White House — and hoping for an announcement on such action from President Obama or his administration on the day of the event.

“The federal government’s the primary funder of those services and issues guidelines and mandates to local aging service providers across the country,” Adams said. “And so, fundamentally we’re asking the federal government to make clear that LGBT older adults should be a priority in federally funded aging services across the country. There’s a whole variety of things that we’re looking for, but at its core, that’s a lot of what it comes down to.”

A policy paper from SAGE on the White House conference lays out specific requests for the administration on LGBT elder issues. Among them is an executive order, specifically barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in nursing homes, long-term care settings and any entity that serves older adults and receives federal funds.

Also in the policy paper is an effort to increase cultural competency for State Units on Aging and Area Agencies on Aging on LGBT issues and data collection on the number of LGBT people reached through activities under the Older Americans Act. For housing, SAGE recommends enhanced data collection, cultural competency and inclusive affordable housing for older adults through explicit guidance to grant recipients that anti-LGBT housing discrimination is unlawful under the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s Equal Access Rule.

For HIV issues, the policy paper seeks treatment guidelines from the Department of Health & Human Services on the clinical care of older LGBT people, improved research from the National Institutes of Health on HIV and aging and improving testing rates among older adults.

Stacey Long Simmons, director of public policy and government affairs for the National LGBTQ Task Force, said the White House should address issues of concern for LGBT elders at the upcoming conference.

“As LGBTQ Baby Boomers enter the age of retirement, we need to work to ensure that service providers are educated, trained, and culturally competent on LGBTQ issues,” Long Simmons said. “Senior care agencies and providers should be aware that LGBTQ Baby Boomers will not be shy in letting providers know who they are and what they expect them to know about LGBTQ people. At the upcoming White House Conference on Aging, we look forward to working with the administration on how to effectively address the unique needs of LGBTQ older adults.”

Adams said his organization has already engaged in ongoing conversations with the White House that have been productive as well as conference staff and government agencies.

“The conversations have been very friendly in the sense that the Obama administration is strong on recognizing the right of LGBT people to be treated equally, and the right to services and support,” Adams said.

Jeff Tiller, a White House spokesperson, pointed to the administration’s previous work on issues facing LGBT elders when asked about requests from LGBT advocates.

“This administration has a lengthy track record of advancing policies to better serve older Americans — including LGBT older Americans — such as creating a national resource center on LGBT aging, protecting hospital patients’ right to choose their own visitors during a hospital stay, working to improve HIV reporting for older Americans, and ensuring that seniors with Medicare enjoy lower costs on prescription drugs and improved preventive benefits,” the official said. “The White House Conference on Aging represents a great opportunity for the president and his Cabinet to focus on issues that will shape the landscape for all older Americans, including those in the LGBT community, in the coming years.”

Advocates are looking to the administration because earlier efforts to address issues facing LGBT elders have gone nowhere during Republican control of Congress. In the previous Congress, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) introduced LGBT-inclusive legislation to reauthorize the Older Americans Act through fiscal year 2018, but neither her version, nor the Republican version of the legislation, saw any traction.

In 2012, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced the first-of-its-kind “LGBT Elder Americans Act” that provided the principles of designating LGBT older adults as a group of greatest social need, enhancing data collection and permanently establishing the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging.

Adam Bozzi, a Bennet spokesperson, told the Blade his boss intends to revisit the issue this Congress, but doesn’t have a timetable yet for when that action will be.

Another measure that would help address LGBT elder issues is the upcoming comprehensive non-discrimination bill set for introduction by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The non-discrimination protections for housing and public accommodations in the bill are seen to benefit LGBT elders most directly. Like other measures, it faces an uphill battle in the Republican Congress.

For Corbett, a change in policy at the federal level would be significant because it would mean LGBT elders would be able to breathe a little easier as they deal with other issues in their remaining days.

“Gay couples will be able to say, I’m looking for a senior citizen residence for me and my husband, not me and a friend who’s going to live down the hall, or he may not live with me at all,” Corbett said. “Or I’m going to a rest home in hospice, and when I walk in there to spend time with my husband…I don’t feel awkward or have to move my hand when the nurse comes in the room.”

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Tez Anderson

    July 8, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    With over 50% of people with HIV older than age 50 HIV is also an LGBT issue. And long-term survivors of HIV (those who have been positive since the 1980s or 1990s) have a host of issues and health concerns that rarely get addressed at the things. We are LGBT elders too our low income after being on disability put us at even greater peril. When you add Aging With HIV to this mix it is even more frightening. Try living on Social Security Disability income. Talk about being ill-prepared for old age! It is our legacy that we are canaries in the mineshaft again.

    If you want to learn more visit http://LetsKickASS.org where you can read about AIDS survivor syndrome and long-term survivors. Cheers, Tez Anderson, Founder Let’s Kick ASS.

  2. lnm3921

    July 8, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Also to consider is that GLBT elders that have no children and perhaps no family have no one to advocate for them and intervene in the case of elder abuse especially in nursing homes or assisted living situations. What prevents a caregiver from being abusive toward a GLBT and what recourse do such elders have?

    Who is looking out for their interests? Even if you are married, spouses can pass on before you and having children doesn’t guarantee having active interest in your needs and care. That can essentially leave you completely alone to fend for yourself.

  3. John Simpson

    July 8, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    As long as the GOP controls the Congress, we older LGBT Americans can look for NO help from them in our aging process. This is the reason that it is important to vote Democrat in all elections, wihether it be for dog catcher, or President. Make no mistake about it, the republican party is the enemy of the gay community and must be treated as such.

  4. StuffedAnimal

    July 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    At least in large cities, there is an epidemic of homeless LGBT elders. A good many social workers know about this, but NOBODY is talking openly about it. The activists who spend all their time advocating for homeless youth have left us hanging out to dry. Nobody cares when you’re old and Gay.

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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

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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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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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