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Our history of marching on Washington

A look back at the previous five major national LGBT demonstrations

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equality march, Stonewall to marriage, gay news, Washington Blade, National Equality March, gay march history

The last Equality March was held in 2009.
(Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

As thousands descend on Washington, D.C. for the Equality March for Unity and Pride, it’s important to remember that the LGBT community has quite a bit of experience executing national demonstrations. Here, we take a look back through the photographic archives of the Blade at five previous major LGBT demonstrations in D.C.

1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

The 1979 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (Washington Blade archive photo by John M. Yanson)

In what LGBT advocates and political observers considered an historic first, LGBT people from throughout the country came to the nation’s capital on Oct. 14, 1979 for the nation’s first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.

The idea of a gay march on Washington similar to the famous 1963 March on Washington for African-American rights initiated by Martin Luther King, Jr. had been pushed by San Francisco gay Supervisor Harvey Milk shortly before his assassination in 1978. New York gay activist Steve Ault and New York lesbian activist Joyce Hunter have been credited with moving Milk’s plans forward.

Similar to the four LGBT Washington marches that followed in subsequent years, there were conflicting reports on the size of the turnout. The U.S. Park Police, which at the time gave crowd estimates for public events, initially estimated the turnout for the march to be 75,000 but later said between 25,000 and 50,000 people turned out.

Organizers of the march insisted that more than 100,000 people turned out.

Whatever the turnout, the event drew national media attention to the LGBT rights movement and, according LGBT advocates, motivated thousands of LGBT people to become active in the movement to secure their rights who were not involved before.

A five-point platform for the march called for passage by Congress of a “comprehensive” lesbian and gay civil rights bill; a presidential executive order banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal workforce, the military, federally contracted private employers; repeal of all anti-gay/lesbian laws; an end to discrimination in child custody disputes for gay and lesbian parents; and protections for gay and lesbian youth against discrimination at home or in schools.

The march began near the Capitol and traveled along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House before ending on the grounds of the Washington Monument, where a rally with speakers was held.

1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights

The 1987 National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Activists familiar with the Oct. 11, 1987 march say that while it called for some of the same LGBT rights advances as the 1979 march, it was prompted by two major developments – the widespread belief that the administration of President Ronald Reagan had failed to adequately respond to the AIDS epidemic and the 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding state sodomy laws, which made it a crime for consenting adults of the same gender to engage in sexual relations.

This time, U.S. Park Police estimated the turnout to be at least 200,000. Organizers declared the turnout to be well over 300,000, making the 1987 march and rally the largest LGBT demonstration ever held in the U.S.

Media coverage of the march and rally was heightened by the decision by creators of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to display the quilt for the first time on the National Mall on the same day as the march.

During the days following the march, some participants staged a civil disobedience demonstration on the steps of the Supreme Court to protest the sodomy law ruling that resulted in arrests.

Among the speakers at the march rally, which was held on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol, where gay U.S. Reps. Barney Frank and Gerry Studds, both Democrats from Massachusetts; former National Organization for Women president Eleanor Smeal; United Farm Workers Union president Cesar Chavez; and civil rights leader and then-presidential candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Items added to the platform beyond those included for the 1979 march included a call for legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships; repeal of sodomy laws applying to consenting adults; an end to discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS; reproductive freedom for women; and an end to racism in the U.S. and an end to apartheid in South Africa.

 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi-Equal Rights and Liberation

The 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi-Equal Rights and Liberation (Washington Blade archive photo by Doug Hinckle)

Plans for the third march on Washington for “Lesbian, Gay, and Bi-Equal Rights and Liberation,” as it was officially named, began prior to the 1992 presidential election while George H. W. Bush was president.

By the time the march took place on April 25, President Bill Clinton, who expressed support for gay rights during his election campaign, had been in office for just over two months. While march organizers were generally optimistic over a Clinton White House, some expressed concern that the new president appeared to be backing down from his promise to lift the ban on gays in the military following opposition to the proposal by many in Congress.

Thus a major theme of the 1993 march and its large rally at the site of the U.S. Capitol was the call to “lift the ban.” Among those playing a visible role in the march were gay and lesbian veterans, some of whom wore their military uniforms.

Another vocal message delivered at the march was strong opposition to Colorado’s Amendment 2, a ballot measure passed by voters that banned cities and counties in the state from adopting anti-discrimination laws protecting gays and lesbians.

AIDS activists and members of the AIDS protest group ACT UP also emerged as highly visible participants in the march, which traveled from the White House to the Capitol.

By 5 p.m., hours after the march began, marchers could be seen at the far end of the National Mall near the Washington Monument still streaming onto the Mall, which appeared to be completely filled with people involved in the march. This prompted organizers to declare they had reached their goal of drawing a turnout of a million people. As with the previous two gay marches, U.S. Park Police issued a significantly lower figure, putting the turnout at 300,000.

Some participants expressed disappointment that Clinton declined an invitation to speak at the rally and also didn’t agree to record a video message to be shown at the rally. Instead, he sent a written message to be read at the rally expressing strong support for LGBT rights and increased funds for the fight against AIDS.

Then-D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly, then-New York City Mayor David Dinkins, and U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), were among the speakers at the rally.

 2000 Millennium March on Washington for Equality

Students attend the Millennium March for Equality (Photo courtesy of Michael Key)

Held on April 30, 2000, the fourth national LGBT march on Washington, named the Millennium March on Washington for Equality, drew hundreds of thousands of LGBT people and their supporters despite a rocky start that sparked strong divisions among LGBT activists.

In a break from the first three ‘gay’ Washington marches, which were initiated by individual activists, the Millennium  March was initiated by the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, and the Rev. Troy Perry, leader of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.

Rather than seek input from grassroots activists and local LGBT groups, HRC and Perry formed a march committee on their own and hired lesbian comedian and events producer Robin Tyler, who had been calling for another gay march, as the march’s executive producer. In a press release announcing the march, the committee boasted that corporate sponsors were being lined up to help finance the march and a long list of celebrities, most of whom were gay or lesbian, would be performing at a concert during the weekend of the planned march.

Infuriated over what they called a top down, undemocratic structure, many LGBT activists denounced the proposed march and vowed to organize a boycott. But as criticism mounted, HRC and Perry agreed to make changes to broaden the organizing committee and vowed to make the march the most diverse LGBT event ever held. Transgender activists and LGBT people of color were brought into leadership positions.

With the November 2000 presidential election approaching, many LGBT activists agreed a national LGBT march would be an important showing of LGBT political clout. Similar to the 1993 march, the National Mall appeared filled with march participants on April 20, 2000, prompting organizers and many observers to estimate the turnout to be 800,000. A short time before the Millennial March was held, U.S. Park Police discontinued making crowd estimates for events on the Mall.

Meanwhile, this time President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, who was running for president, spoke to the crowd through a large video screen on the Mall near the Capitol, where the rally was held.

An array of entertainers and celebrities, including Melissa Etheridge, Martina Navratilova, and actress Anne Heche, appeared on the stage at the rally. On the evening before the march, an HRC-produced concert at D.C.’s RFK Stadium called Equality Rocks, drew a sold-out crowd, which saw performances by Etheridge, George Michael, Pet Shop Boys, and k.d. Lang.

All of this drew extensive media coverage that for the most part omitted any mention of the internal LGBT strife surrounding the march and portrayed the event as a successful demonstration for LGBT equality.

2009 National Equality March

National Equality March, gay news, Washington Blade

The last LGBT march on Washington was the National Equality March on Oct. 11, 2009. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Held on Oct. 11, 2009 on National Coming Out Day, the National Equality March is believed to have attracted about 150,000 people to Washington on a relatively short notice.

Longtime gay rights advocate David Mixner is credited with initiating the march in an effort to build on the groundswell of LGBT activism on social media generated by the approval by California voters of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that overturned the state’s same-sex marriage law.

San Francisco gay rights leader Cleve Jones, founder of the Names Project that created the AIDS Memorial Quilt, became involved as one of the lead organizers along with lesbian activist Robin McGehee and gay activist Kip Williams.

Similar to the previous LGBT Washington marches, the 2009 march traveled from the White House to the U.S. Capitol, where about two-dozen speakers, including mainline civil rights leaders, LGBT leaders, and supportive elected officials spoke in support of marriage equality, a federal LGBT non-discrimination bill, and repealing the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy.

The march took place during President Barack Obama’s first year in office, and some of the march speakers expressed concern that he wasn’t moving fast enough on his campaign promises to back LGBT rights legislation.

Among those who spoke and performed at the rally was bisexual singer and LGBT rights supporter Lady Gaga.

Unlike the previous LGBT Washington marches, that mainly closed their books in debt, the 2009 march generated a surplus in funds that organizers gave to existing grassroots LGBT rights organizations.

Among the key goals of march organizers was to put in place a network of grassroots LGBT organizers in each of the nation’s 435 congressional districts to push for LGBT equality under the auspices of a new group called Equality Across America. But activists familiar with the group acknowledge that goal was never reached and the group is no longer active.

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. kahlil

    June 11, 2017 at 11:22 am

    IN WASHINGTON DC for march today who do I see but
    PLAYWRIGHT/PROFESSOR/ACTOR/ACTIVIST DR LARRY MYERS
    as cited in initial NEW YORK TIMES article on Russian concentration camps for gays Dr Myers was alone at the Russian Consulate with a sign, alone in front of Stonewall with a sign, alone at Independence Hall with a Chechnya sign!
    his
    PLAYWRIGHTS SANCTUARY ignites
    in SAN FRANCISCO this summer where he ll be mentoring new & younger dramatists who are LGBTQIA writing about critical issues
    his SANCTUARY was endorsed by late legend
    EDWARD ALBEE
    Myers’ own new stage work
    “Silence = p/Chechnya Secrets” opens in Bay area this summer

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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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shooting, DC Eagle, assault, hate crime, anti-gay attack, police discrimination, sex police, Sisson, gay news, Washington Blade

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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