Officer Justin Markiewicz, who was honored by D.C.’s Capital Pride organization in June for his exemplary work as a member of the D.C. Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, has left the unit and began a new assignment on Tuesday as a patrol officer with the Sixth Police District.
Police sources familiar with the GLLU have said Markiewicz was essentially forced out of his GLLU post, even though he submitted an official request to leave the unit. Police spokesperson Gwendolyn Crump said the department granted Markiewicz’s request to return to the Sixth District and is unaware of any issues that would have forced him to leave the GLLU.
“My time at the GLLU has come to an end,” Markiewicz stated in a Facebook posting on Sept. 18. “I’m sad that my tenure at the GLLU has ended in the way it did but I’m excited to continue the next step in my career,” he wrote in his posting.
Markiewicz has told the Blade police department rules prevent him from talking to the media. But two police sources familiar with the GLLU said Markiewicz requested that his indefinite detail to the GLLU be ended and that he be returned to his earlier assignment to the Sixth District because higher-up police officials had created a hostile work environment for him at the GLLU.
The sources said Markiewicz was subjected to greater scrutiny and what appeared to others as unfair disciplinary action for alleged minor infractions of rules and procedures after he filed a harassment complaint against Capt. Edward Delgado in August 2014. At the time Delgado served as commander of the Special Liaison Division, which oversees the GLLU and three other police liaison units.
Sources said the complaint, which was filed with the department’s Internal Affairs Division, accused Delgado of repeatedly addressing Markiewicz in person and in emails as “Justine.” Markiewicz viewed Delgado’s action as a form of anti-gay harassment, the sources said.
Delgado was transferred to another assignment shortly after the complaint was filed, but spokesperson Crump said police personnel rules prevented the department from disclosing the outcome of the Internal Affairs investigation into Markiewicz’s complaint.
According to the sources, Markiewicz’s decision to leave the GLLU was based, in part, on the news that Delgado had recently been reassigned to a position that oversees the GLLU and the other liaison units after he was promoted to the rank of inspector. His new position would place him once again in a role of supervising Markiewicz had Markiewicz remained at the GLLU.
“It is difficult to respond to ‘sources familiar with MPD,’” Crump told the Blade in an email on Tuesday. “However, we will state categorically that we will not tolerate retaliation in any form in MPD,” she said.
“Officer Markiewicz made a request to end his detail to GLLU and that request was granted,” Crump said, adding that the department is unaware of any retaliation claim. “We encourage anyone who feels that they have been retaliated against to file a complaint through proper channels.”
Crump said Police Chief Cathy Lanier has yet to decide whether to assign another officer to replace Markiewicz at the GLLU. Markiewicz’s departure lowers the number of GLLU officers assigned to the unit’s headquarters in Dupont Circle from five to four. Sgt. Jessica Hawkins, who serves as the GLLU’s supervisor, is also considered a member of the unit.
“We will continue to ensure trained members are available to assist on GLLU-related calls,” Crump said.
“Hopefully this isn’t goodbye forever and just a see you later,” Markiewicz said in his Facebook posting. “I truly miss seeing everyone. Come visit me east of the river,” he said in referring to the Sixth District’s location in Southeast D.C.