September 23, 2015 at 5:30 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Questions surround gay officer’s departure from LGBT police unit
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.

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

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

      • 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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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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