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Questions surround gay officer’s departure from LGBT police unit

Markiewicz headed back to Sixth District

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Justin Markiewicz, gay news, Washington Blade, GLLU
Justin Markiewicz, gay news, Washington Blade

Justin Markiewicz (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

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.

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. I'm Just Sayin

    September 23, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    So a gay officer is harassed and his tormentor gets promoted? And you wondered what it would be like with no LGBT representation on DC city council. Now you know. Welcome to Bowser-land.

    • Brian's Ions

      September 23, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      The anti-LGBT corruption runs to two-faced Council members too.

      We have a corrupt, homophobic and transphobic police chief who is supported by self-described ‘friends’ of DC’s LGBTs on Council.

      Kenyan McDuffie poses himself as an ally of LGBTs. He even makes a big PR deal about his Capital Pride parade participation every year– as if that matters a whit to LGBT public safety and to hate crimes victims.

      McDuffie was Mendelson’s pick to be Chair of Council’s increasingly unbelievable Judiciary and “Public Safety” Committee– which routinely excludes discussion of policing issues regarding anti-LGBTQ hate crime violence.

      — McDuffie has never lifted a finger in support of GLLU.
      — McDuffie has never held a serious inquiry into the repeated allegations of crime case coverups by those under command of MPD’s corrupt bosses.
      — McDuffie has never held a serious inquiry regarding the anti-LGBT biased policing of MPD’s chiefs.
      — Nor has McDuffie made an effort to seek active recruitment of LGBT MPD officers– though about 10% of DC residents identify as LGBT.

      McDuffie wants to be mayor some day.

      However, other than wrapping himself in a rainbow flag once a year, McDuffie has done little or nothing for the public safety of DC’s LGBTQs and their loved ones.

      Indeed, given McDuffie’s recent reckless rhetoric, it appears he is actually encouraging *more violence* against LGBTs and other crime victims.

    • THEBEARCUB

      September 24, 2015 at 2:46 am

      She ain’t got shyt to do with this. Again the typical comments from white Gentrifiers who dream of an all white DC! It’s about ALL RESIDENTS! However Lanier needs to go!

      • Brian's Ions

        September 24, 2015 at 7:17 am

        Cub, Bowser IS the BOSS now. She’s got EVERYTHING to do with it. She’s just too afraid of Lanier.

        If Bowser could summon the courage to fire Lanier and bring back a renowned expert in Community Policing, like Ramsey, she’d be an instant hero.

        http://cebcp.org/hall-of-fame/charles-ramsey/

        http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/policingtaskforce

      • I'm Just Sayin

        September 24, 2015 at 4:33 pm

        So if Lanier needs to go (which I concur), who other than her boss (Mayor Bowser) is responsible for making that happen? Lanier serves at the pleasure of the Mayor, doesn’t she Babybear? Gentrification may be fueling the animosity you clearly have toward white voters, but it has nothing to do with how personnel actions are administered within DCMPD. The implications of the loss of an LBGT council member have been openly debated. I simply don’t think this would have gone unchallenged if Catania were still a member of council. Marching in the pride parade shouldn’t be enough to earn LGBT votes but apparently that seems to be the new bar.

        • THEBEARCUB

          September 26, 2015 at 4:07 am

          Ummm I have nothing against white voters. However on the other hand you have been pushing your animosity against Black voters and Bowser too when this campaign began. Again Lanier needs to go and Catania is gone on his own accord. And many white gay voters didn’t vote for Muriel anyway (truth) so there. Good luck next time around.

    • Cambel

      September 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      I think you mean Lanier, Chief Lanier has had it out for the LGBT community since she first came on the job and tried to disband the unit.

      • Brian's Ions

        September 28, 2015 at 5:37 am

        No. Like any DC mayor, Bowser is responsible for the police chief.

        But your history of Lanier’s implicit and institutional homophobia and transphobia re. GLLU is spot on and noteworthy by every LGBTQ in the city.

        So is Lanier’ MPD coverup of anti-LGBT hate crimes public information and statistics.

        However, Council also has very substantial indirect authority over corrupt MPD management too. Council could apply sufficient pressure to buy out Lanier’s contract and replace her. And they should. The sooner, the better.

  2. Cambel

    September 26, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Under Chief Lanier there have been MULTIPLE issues with the Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit. Remember she first tried to disband it, then under pressure reinstated it, and now, she has rewarded and promoted somebody (Delgado) to directly supervise a unit that deals with the exact group of people that he shown bigotry to.
    It is VERY obvious that Lanier has some major issues with the LGBT community.

    • Brian's Ions

      September 28, 2015 at 5:47 am

      Yep. But let’s call it for what it is… implicit and institutional homophobia and transphobia at MPD’s highest levels.

      And that’s gotten tacit encouragement– intentional or not– from multiple mayors and some members of Council, too.

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Local

Long-time LGBTQ activist running for Md. House of Delegates

Patrick Paschall is former FreeState Justice executive director

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Patrick Paschall (Photo courtesy of Eli Sauerwalt of Patrick Paschall for Delegate)

Former FreeState Justice Executive Director Patrick Paschall last week announced via social media that he is running for the Maryland House of Delegates.

“As a proud parent of two kids in Prince George’s County public schools, former Hyattsville City Council member, and lifelong civil rights advocate and policy analyst, I’ve spent my life and career working for equity, community and sustainability for my family,” Paschall said in a statement posted to Facebook on Nov. 23. 

Paschall, who currently is the American Rescue Plan Program Manager for the city of Hyattsville, previously served as executive director for FreeState Justice from 2015 to 2017. 

His LGBTQ advocacy work also includes serving as senior policy counsel for the National LGBTQ Task Force, as an organizer for Pride at Work and as a policy fellow for the National Center for Transgender Equality.  

He also worked for Family Equality Council, an organization advocating for the rights of same-sex couples and their children. 

“One of the things I’m running on is being a parent,” Paschall told the Washington Blade. “We can provide more opportunities for families to succeed in our communities.”

Paschall is running to represent District 22, which includes Hyattsville, where he has lived for over 10 years with his two children, who currently attend Hyattsville Elementary School, and his wife, who identifies as pansexual. 

He told the Blade he views his family as a “rainbow family,” but pointed out since he and his wife did not have to endure the same difficulties as his friends who are married same-sex couples when they wanted to adopt children.

“When I became a parent, no one stopped by my house to make sure it was an adequate living situation for my child, no one checked to make sure I had a room dedicated to the child and for no other purpose,” he said. “But my friends Jamie and Sean went through all of that when they tried to adopt a kid.”

Paschall explained that even though he and his wife didn’t go through these experiences, there was still room for Maryland to improve in the areas of adoptions and civil rights. 

“It strikes me how much privilege I have because the state doesn’t design to make it hard for me like it does for so many same-sex couples,” he explained. 

Patrick Paschall with his family. (Photo courtesy of Eli Sauerwalt of Patrick Paschall for Delegate)

Much like with the recent elections in neighboring Virginia, Paschall said helping parents is an important issue for him — one he wants to carry to Annapolis — if elected “because my district deserves better schools for our kids, more child care options and family support like paid family leave.”

“I think that District 22 needs a voice in Annapolis to represent progressive parents and to exercise policy expertise in achieving the values of our community,” he added. “And I have the experience to get it done.”

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Local

D.C. area LGBTQ bars, eateries receive $100K COVID-19 relief grant

Pitchers, League of Her Own received NGLCC, Grubhub funds

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indoor dining, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The D.C. LGBTQ sports bar Pitchers and League of Her Own, its adjoining lesbian bar, are among the nation’s first LGBTQ bars that serve food as well as alcoholic beverages to receive a $100,000 COVID-19 relief grant under a $2 million Community Impact Grant Program.

The program, aimed at supporting LGBTQ-owned and LGBTQ-allied small businesses struggling from the pandemic, was launched in September as a joint project of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, which goes by the initials NGLCC, and the global online food delivery company Grubhub.

In a Tuesday announcement, NGLCC and Grubhub said Pitchers and League of Her Own, which operate as one business in adjoining buildings in D.C.’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, are among the first three recipients of $100,000 grants under the Community Impact Grant Program. The other two recipients are FOODE + Mercantile of Fredericksburg, Va., and Café Gabriela of Oakland, Calif.

“Following this initial round of recipients, more grants will be issued in late 2021 and early 2022,” the announcement by the two groups says. In an earlier announcement, the groups said the application period for the grants program took place from September through Oct. 12, and the grants would range in amounts from $5,000 to $100,000.

“The impact of COVID-19 has been debilitating for countless restaurant and bar owners, including the many LGBTQ+-owned restaurants across the country who have persisted through lockdowns, operational changes and labor supply shortages,” said NGLCC Co-Founder and President Justin Nelson. “We’re grateful to have partnered with Grubhub to offer real lifelines to support businesses throughout the nation,” Nelson said.

“Building community in a fun and safe place has been our mission since the very beginning,” said David Perruzza, the owner of Pitchers and League of Her Own. “We’re relieved and thankful for these funds, and are looking forward to more stable days ahead,” Perruzza said.

“As a trans masculine and queer immigrant person of color, I’ve worked hard and put all my love and energy into building a beautiful and welcoming space in Café Gabriela,” said owner Penny Baldado. “I’ve remained resilient through COVID, and this grant is the injection of funds that we need to continue along our journey to full recovery,” Baldado said.

The statement announcing the first three grant recipient says funds for the $2 million grant program were generated by Grubhub’s “Donate the Change” program of which NGLCC became a partner in June. Grubhub says the program asks customers receiving food delivered by Grubhub “to round out their order and donate the difference” to the charitable fund.

“COVID has turned the restaurant industry on its head the last 18 months, and at Grubhub, we’ve been working hard every day to support our restaurant partners across the country,” said Amy Healy, Grubhub’s vice president of government relations. “As the world starts to return to a new normal, we’re proud to partner with the NGLCC and provide these grants to LGBTQ+-owned and LGBTQ+ ally-owned restaurants across the country that are pillars of their communities.”

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Virginia

Va. businessman apologizes for burning of rainbow flag poster

‘Shocked and horrified’: Ashburn incident caught on video

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Organizers of an event where a Pride symbol was burned say the incident was a misunderstanding.

The owner of a Virginia technology company that hosted a private Veterans Day party on the grounds of an Ashburn, Va., brewery in which a company employee used a flame-throwing device to ignite a rainbow flag poster said the selection of the poster was a mistake and he and his company have no ill will toward the LGBTQ community.

The Washington Blade learned about the poster burning from a customer of the Old Ox Brewery in Ashburn, where the incident took place on its outdoor grounds. The customer made a video of the incident with his cell phone and sent a copy of the video to the Blade.

The video, which includes an audio recording, shows a man using a hand-held flame-throwing device to ignite the rainbow poster, which was hanging from a cable and appeared to be mounted on cardboard or a thin sheet of wood. Bystanders can be heard laughing and cheering as the poster is set on fire.

The poster consisted of a variation of the LGBTQ Pride rainbow flag that included the word “love” configured from an upper white stripe on the rainbow symbol.

The customer who took the video, who has asked not to be identified, thought the decision to set the poster on fire was a sign of disrespect if not hatred toward a longstanding symbol of LGBTQ equality and pride.

Chris Burns, Old Ox Brewery’s president, shared that view, telling the Blade he and his staff were “shocked and horrified” when they learned later that a rainbow flag poster had been burned on the brewery’s grounds. Burns said Old Ox supports the LGBTQ community and participated in LGBTQ Pride month earlier this year.

He said the company that held the private party paid a fee to hold the event on the brewery’s grounds, but the brewery did not know a rainbow poster would be burned.

“I’m mortified that our event was interpreted in this way,” said Nate Reynolds, the founder and partner of Hypershift Technologies LLC, the Falls Church, Va.-based technology company that organized the Nov. 11 party at Old Ox Brewery. “I can assure you that ZERO ill-will or offense was meant,” Reynolds told the Blade in a Nov. 24 email.

“We held a small private party for a few clients, which included a demonstration of Elon Musk’s Boring Company ‘Not a Flamethrower,’” he said in his message. He was referring to one of billionaire businessman Elon Musk’s companies that specializes in boring through the ground to create tunnels for cars, trains, and other purposes. 

“After so many being isolated during COVID, we wanted to have an event that was lighthearted and to some small effect, silly,” Reynolds said in his message to the Blade.

According to Reynolds, in thinking about what should be used for “fodder” for the flame-thrower, he went to a Five Below discount store and purchased items such as stuffed animals and posters, including a “Space Jam” movie poster as well as what he thought was a poster of the British rock group The Beatles.

“When I pulled the Beatles poster out of the tube it was instead the ‘Love’ poster,” he said, referring to the rainbow flag poster the Blade asked him about in an earlier email.

“All I focused on was the ‘Love’ wording and not the rainbow and did not draw the conclusion that the poster was an icon that represents the LGBTQ community,” Reynolds said. “It was my own ignorance of not connecting the symbolism of the poster. If I had realized it was a symbol of the LGBTQ community, I would not have used it,” he said.

“I feel terrible, and I want to emphasize that I am solely responsible for this mistake – not the Old Ox Brewery,” he wrote in his message. “Nobody at Old Ox had anything to do with this activity.”

Reynolds added, “Hate has no place in my heart, and I sincerely apologize for any offense that could have been drawn from what I now realize was poor judgement on my part. I simply didn’t correlate this poster with the LGBTQ pride symbol.”  

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Before Reynolds issued his statement of apology, Burns, the Old Ox Brewery co-owner, told the Blade in an email he was “saddened and upset” over the rainbow poster burning on the grounds of his brewery.

“We do not wish to benefit from this event,” he said in his email message. “Therefore, Old Ox is donating 100% of the revenue generated from the private event to GLSEN.”

GLSEN is a national LGBTQ advocacy group that focuses on education and support for LGBTQ youth. Burns said Old Ox Brewery also donated proceeds from a Pride month event it organized earlier this year to GLSEN.

LGBTQ activists and organizations contacted by the Blade said they were unfamiliar with the variation of the rainbow flag with the word “love” that was the subject of the poster burning incident. The poster is available for sale at Five Below stores in the D.C. metropolitan area for $5.

Small print writings on the poster show it is produced by Trends International LLC, which describes itself on its website as “the leading publisher and manufacturer of licensed posters, calendars, stickers and social stationery products.” The Blade couldn’t immediately determine who designed the poster.

 The video of the poster burning incident can be viewed here:

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