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Parade protest could be ‘big expense’ for Capital Pride

D.C. police declined to arrest demonstrators blocking route

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Pride parade, gay news, Washington Blade

Protesters blocked the Pride parade on Saturday, delaying some contingents for hours. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

A decision by a group of protesters to block the path of the Capital Pride parade on June 10 in three separate locations could result in an additional “big expense” to the Capital Pride organization, according to its president, Bernie Delia.

Delia and Capital Pride Executive Director Ryan Bos said the blocking of the parade carried out by the group No Justice No Pride delayed the completion of the parade by at least two hours if not longer.

Under a longstanding D.C. government policy for organizations sponsoring parades or festivals, organizers of those events are required to pay a fee to cover the costs of deploying police officers to oversee the closing of streets and redirecting motor vehicle traffic.

The police department’s Special Operations Division charges event organizers based on the number of officers required for an event and the amount of hours an event lasts, said police spokesperson Rachel Reid.

No Justice No Pride leaders said they conducted the parade blocking protest after Capital Pride officials declined to agree to two key demands by the group – that they prohibit uniformed police officers and certain corporations from marching or riding in floats in the parade.

The group’s spokesperson, Drew Ambrogi, said No Justice No Pride stopped the parade by deploying its members to stand in the path of the parade in front of three targeted contingents – the D.C. police LGBT Liaison Unit, a float sponsored by the Lockheed Martin defense contracting corporation, and a float sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank.

The group said it wanted uniformed police banned from the parade because they symbolize police abuse and oppression of LGBT people of color, especially transgender women of color.

A contingent of “queer black women of color stepped in front of the police to highlight the threat of abuse and state violence that LGBTQ2S people of color experience,” the group said in a statement.

No Justice No Pride members said Lockheed Martin and Wells Fargo were singled out because they symbolize defense contractors that build weapons of war and a bank that has helped to finance the Dakota Access Pipeline that, among other things, desecrated lands considered sacred to indigenous peoples and is harmful to the environment.

D.C. police, under the direction of Police Chief Peter Newsham, who was on the scene, chose not to arrest the protesters and instead rerouted the parade, which resulted in long delays in parade contingents reaching the end of the parade route at 14th and R Streets, N.W.

A D.C. Metropolitan Police Department statement in response to an inquiry from the Washington Blade said police anticipated the possibility of a disruption of the parade and were prepared to “ensure the safety and security of everyone involved while permitting everyone to exercise their First Amendment rights.”

The statement added, “It is our common practice to provide those exercising their First Amendment rights a safe and secure place to do so. As long as a First Amendment assembly is peaceful, MPD makes every effort to facilitate that expression of rights, while also ensuring the safety and security of the community.”

Delia told the Blade on Tuesday he couldn’t immediately provide a specific amount that Capital Pride would be required to pay the city due to the longer period in which police had to keep surrounding streets closed because of the protests.

“I don’t recall the exact figure,” he said referring to the overall cost of police services for street closings associated with the Capital Pride parade. “It’s a big expense,” he said.

Delia disputed claims by No Justice No Pride members that negotiations between Capital Pride and No Justice No Pride representatives took place at the site where the group blocked the parade for an hour or more. No Justice No Pride representatives said in a statement that Capital Pride refused to agree to any of the group’s demands.

“We engaged in discussions on Saturday night, but no one undertook any negotiations,” Delia said in a statement. “That time and that setting were not conducive to engaging in a meaningful dialogue that properly involves the entire community,” he said.

“The Capital Pride Alliance had repeatedly committed to continue to look at all the issues that have been raised, but we believe now is the time for us to work with other Washington, D.C. groups and broaden the conversation to find a way forward,” he said.

“After a weekend of events where hundreds of thousands of members of the LGBTQ+ community and allied community came together to protest, gather in community, and celebrate, it is time for the full breadth of organizations and LGBTQ+ communities that they serve, protect, and advocate for to collectively look at the challenges and opportunities before us,” Delia said in his statement.

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Observing U

    June 14, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    This is why we can’t have nice events.

  2. Kurt 20008

    June 15, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Jerks

  3. ngblog

    June 15, 2017 at 11:05 am

    Capital Pride should file charges and have #NoJusticeNoPride compensate for their losses.

  4. leemwhitman

    June 15, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Sue the individual members of NJNP to cover the expenses. Actions have consequences.

    • MS

      June 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm

      They’re all anti-capitalist so chances are they’re all broke too.

  5. Robert Riddle

    June 15, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Why is an article based on “could” even considered newsworthy? By any true journalistic standard, it isn’t. Thus, the reader is left to question the editors’ motivation for publishing such a piece.

  6. Adam Miramon

    June 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    The money lost was Capital Pride’s own fault. No Justice No Pride came to them early enough so that changes they could make changes, and they dismissed us and our concerns. What did they think was going to happen? . . . that we would go home and cry because daddy said “no.” They need to get over themselves. No Justice No Pride’s concerns are important and they need to be addressed.

    • Suzan Cooke

      June 15, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      Nothing like threats and blackmail. Go demonstrate against your actual enemies.

      • Adam Miramon

        June 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm

        Please see above

        • uhhuhh

          June 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm

          Please grow up.

          And when you’re wailing and pouting that LGBT police officers “trigger” you, you deserve to be treated like the child you are.

          • Adam Miramon

            June 16, 2017 at 7:58 am

            How adult of you. I’m not the one triggered here.

    • MS

      June 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Their demands are outrageous and most of them not even possible. You don’t get to barge into an organization and start making threats and blackmail, then be absolved of your guilt when your petty protest costs the group money. Sadly, these people don’t have any money so there’s little chance of recouping it. But I’d say the next time this group gets it in their mind to do this again, they be shown a lot less tolerance.

    • RoughRugger

      June 15, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Um…that fact that you brought your “concerns” to them does not obligate them to indulge those concerns. Just like when you ask Daddy, the answer can be “yes” OR “no”. Now you’ve pitched your tantrum about receiving an answer you didn’t like and should rightly have to face the consequences of that tantrum.

    • Adam Miramon

      June 15, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      WOW! Y’all’s true colors are showing . . . Please take a moment to reflect.

      For some members of the LGBTQIA2S community, their struggle is literally life and death . . . EVERY DAY. If you are critical of the actions of No Justice No Pride, then you were never an ally to the entire transgender community or queer people of color.

      It is important for those of us in positions of privilege to check our privilege . . . whether it be race, gender, class, financial, education, etc . . . before we are critical of political actions that have brought the racism, classism, transphobia, and colonialism to the surface of the LGBTQIA2S.

      Please take a moment to reflect on the slight inconvenience you may have experienced on a Saturday afternoon when compared with being afraid for your life every single day.

      Do any of the queers here remember the fear you felt when forced to live in the closet?

      Now imagine NOT having that closet because you can’t hide your skin color or your gender.

      • uhhuhh

        June 15, 2017 at 5:10 pm

        If you demand that visible LGBT police officers be banned from the parade, you need to check your exclusionary prejudice and your toddler entitlement syndrome.

        • Bobby K

          June 15, 2017 at 6:11 pm

          I believe the demand was “uniformed” officers from participating in the parade. That is different than people who are officers participating.

        • Adam Miramon

          June 16, 2017 at 7:54 am

          You do realized that Pride was born out of a riot against oppression . . . specifically the police?

          While we are in a period of transition with LGBT units on police forces, there is still much work that need to be done outside of the unit.

          Here is an article that discusses the topic: https://www.vox.com/platform/amp/identities/2017/6/14/15768274/police-lgbtq-pride-stonewall

          • Tensely

            June 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm

            Ha! Ha! You get your history information from vox.com?
            Try talking to your elders and engage in the community…wow jsut shows how ignorant and entitled millennials are
            Come back when you know your history…Stonewall was a catalyst. But not the first riot or protest in the US.
            Ignorant

          • Tensely

            June 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm

            Plus Stonewall was almost 50 years ago..we can go back 50 years if you’d like …butnit means you’d need to get rid of your phone and vox.com website …..

          • Adam Miramon

            June 16, 2017 at 5:22 pm

            Yes. Stonewall was a catalyst . . . it is also the event that gave birth to Pride. It was an uprising against police oppression and societal oppression. It disrupted the every day lives of New Yorkers. So why has Pride become a walking billboard for any company or entity that wants our queer dollars? Why are Pride’s not focusing on those in our community who are still suffering and dying from that same oppression?

            I’ve been out of the closet for over 30 years and have been taught by LGBTQ elders from both coasts. I have many LGBTQ history books but my fave is The Gay Revolution.

            I’m not the one hiding behind a no-pic one-name profile. I’m not the one who needs to get over myself.

          • Adam Miramon

            June 16, 2017 at 5:33 pm

            I see how it is . . . you silence comments that you don’t agree with . . . how . . . diplomatic.

          • Adam Miramon

            June 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm

            Since you don’t like vox.com . . . How about The Guardian . . . https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/12/get-corporate-america-police-units-out-pride-marches OR The Advocate . . . https://www.advocate.com/commentary/2017/4/26/pride-fests-too-corporate-danger-being-left-behind.

            There is a lot of discussion about corporate sponsorship and police presence in Pride celebrations

  7. Mark S. King

    June 15, 2017 at 1:20 pm

    Now that police expenses are involved, the amount of time DC Pride claims the parade was delayed has risen precipitously. Earliest reports claimed the parade was only slightly delayed, given the preparation of DC Pride and cops. Then it was described as “an hour or more” just yesterday by The Blade. And now, “at least two hours if not longer,” now that there are costs involved. Really? Wasn’t this the largest Pride parade ever in DC, which typically last hours anyway? Aren’t you blaming protestors for your infinite parade as a way to further vilify them? I don’t agree with their demands, but I sure do support their first amendment rights.

    • MS

      June 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      I was toward the end of the route, we waited for an hour before we knew anything. At 7;30, we had yet to see even half the parade, most people gave up and left. First amendment rights are one thing but those rights don’t include a right to disrupt public events and cause financial damages to community organizations. They can have their free speech in a location that doesn’t disrupt the parade. Their goal was not really about free speech, their goal WAS TO DISRUPT the parade. Speech was just the excuse.

      • lnm3921

        June 15, 2017 at 7:50 pm

        Good point and if they can get away with this why can’t anti-gay protestors do the same?

        Can you do the same at the March for life for abortion protestors or the Faith and Values conference and call it just first amendment rights protest? We’ve always had counter demonstrators segregated from us.

  8. MS

    June 15, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    These people don’t care. They don’t have money and don’t think anyone else should either. What they really want is to make pride a party all to themselves and if the organization goes bankrupt in the process, they’ll be just fine. It’s a really selfish and self-righteous plucky little group they have assembled, to rage against the machine. *eyeroll*

  9. rusty Shackleford

    June 15, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    There are pictures and videos of CP negotiating with NJNP. The last blockade stayed in position for maybe 2 hours. Around 9PM CP agreed to 2 of the demands and agreed to come in good faith to negotiations with the organizers within 60 days
    Understandable that many in our community have complicated and differing opinions but at least give a factual overview of what happened so our community can engage honestly with our differing opinions

  10. uhhuhh

    June 15, 2017 at 5:06 pm

    Since it was the police department’s decision not to arrest and remove the obstructions but to re-route and delay the parade, the police department is responsible for the delay.

  11. Shea

    June 16, 2017 at 9:41 am

    So many direct quotes from Delia, so few from NJNP. Even if Delia’s quotes came from a press release, and NJNP didn’t submit one, it seems that fairer reporting would be achieved by balancing the amount of coverage. Lou, did you reach out to members of NJNP for comment on this story? Or if your editors felt that this story is more about the costs of the parade and it didn’t need opinions from NJNP, have you ran any stories about their feelings, actions, reactions to the protest? As a reader of the Blade, I’d be very interested in learning that information. Last point, it’s a little sensational to use Delia’s quote, “big expense” in the headline, when he can’t even recall what the amount is. Seems like you’re using his impression of what a “big expense” is without verifying it.

    • brian_manDC

      June 18, 2017 at 7:54 pm

      Disagree with giving NJNP more space just to “balance the amount of coverage.” This is important: everyone should know that, of the many tens of thousands of participants in Saturday’s Pride overall event, NJNP was significantly less than 1%. I was all over the Pride parade event, and also saw the NJNP protests. Giving the fairly small (though rude and screechy) NJNP protesters more coverage would have exaggerated their significance to the many readers who were not present, and thereby would have fed NJNP more of the attention and credibility they so desperately crave.

  12. Kemwit Tall Tree

    June 16, 2017 at 10:34 am

    NJNP just did more damage to the gay community in DC then Trump or the Republicans could ever dream. Destroy the community events and destroy any sense of unity amongst the gay community! Divide and conquer!

    Congratulations NJNP, you do great work for your REAL enemies!

  13. Adam Miramon

    June 16, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    So . . . I have had several replies to comments deleted . . . It is clear that the moderators of this comment thread do no want to foster dialogue and choose to attack comments that do not align with theirs . . . How diplomatic.

  14. Tensely

    June 17, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    If the police didn’t arrest the NJNP people ( and I don’t think they should have. I don’t agree with them, but it was their first amendment right) then why should Capital Pride be charged? It was the cheif’s decision.
    But it’s says “could be” and I agree with another posters. Lou’s reporting has gotten sloppy.
    Also from following this from fairly early on, Cathy Renna hasn’t done a very good job as a spokesperson for Pride. I know board members, volunteers, producers…she was hired for PR. And she never hiligthed the GOOD things. The Pride in DC is more than those 2 days. I recall the Pride 365 theme. There are Pride events year round.

  15. JPeron

    June 17, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    There is a contingent of “activists” who accomplish nothing but try to destroy things out of spite. They should be arrested and fined. What gives them the right to issue “demands” to the entire community to put up with their petulant bullshit.

  16. Adam Miramon

    June 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    It’s really too bad you are out of touch with LGBTQ2S+ history . . . Have you forgotten Stonewall (a catalyst of the “Gay Revolution”) was a riot against the police led by trans women of color? Have you forgotten that ACT UP blocked Pride parades in the 1990s to bring attention to the HIV/AIDS crisis?

    It must be nice (aka privileged) to be able to ignore our collective LGBTQ2S+ history so easily with QPOC are dying in the streets.

    I am secure in knowing which side of history NJNP stands on. Can you say the same with such bravado confidence?

    Finally, since when were you elected Czar allowing you to make decrees such as banning NJNP participants from Dupont/Logan and guaranteeing police presence in the parade?

    Check yourself man. Check your privilege. History is watching.

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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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