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Trans troops continue their service as Trump threatens expulsion

‘I can’t imagine a life without the Army’

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Blake Dremann, gay news, Washington Blade

Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Lt. Cmdr. Blake Dremann is continuing to do his job, despite President Trump’s announcement that he intends to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military.

The transgender Navy supply core officer, 36, is feeling secure in his role at a military base in Virginia — at least for the time being — until higher-ups issue guidance telling him he can no longer serve.

“Until direction comes back to DOD through official channels, the DOD’s not going to act,” Dremann said.

Dremann said his fate is ultimately up to the institution to which he’s dedicated his life and just as he followed orders before, he’ll keep doing that until the end.

“The military doesn’t really care about my feelings,” Dremann said. “Either I’m fit or not fit. As much as it was a bit of a shock, there’s a job to be done, and that’s what I’m here to do.”

Dremann is one of the thousands of transgender people in the U.S. armed forces — estimates range as high as 15,000 according to the Williams Institute or between 1,320 and 6,630 in active duty alone according to RAND Corps. — who may face expulsion in the aftermath of the policy change Trump announced on Twitter.

It remains unclear how such a ban would be implemented and resistance to Trump’s move is growing. Trump’s announcement the U.S. military “will not accept or allow” transgender people to serve “in any capacity” wasn’t specific on whether he was banning new enlistees from joining the military, or expelling those currently in service. The White House won’t say whether current troops will be kicked out, citing plans for upcoming guidance fleshing out the new policy.

Trump’s ban on transgender service comes after trans people have been serving openly in the U.S. military for a year after former Defense Secretary Ashton Carter under the Obama administration lifted the medical regulation barring transgender people from service.

The president’s announcement came out of the blue. Defense Secretary James Mattis halted a portion of the Obama policy change that would have allowed transgender people to enlist in the armed forces starting July 1, calling for a study of the issue for another six months. Trump’s ban seems to have disregarded the defense chief.

Dremann said he learned of the transgender military ban — and that his 11-year career in the Navy was in jeopardy — via a CNN news blast of the president’s tweets.

“It was absolutely a surprise,” Dremann said. “There had been no indication from anywhere that this was coming down the pike.”

Calling his service in the armed forces “his whole life,” Dremann said he’d have to do additional “soul-searching” about what he would do if he could no longer serve as a result of Trump’s policy.

“Once the ban was lifted, there was no reason for me to leave, so to reinstate the ban and tell me I have to get out, that’s a big change in life plans,” Dremann said. “So, I have to figure out what my next move is after that. It would be devastating for me personally because I thought serving in the Navy until I retired was really what I wanted to do.”

Dremann is just one of many transgender service members currently in service and wondering about their fate in the aftermath of Trump’s announcement.

Army Capt. Jennifer Peace, a transgender intelligence officer stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington State, said her reaction upon finding out about Trump’s tweets was “shock and confusion over exactly what was happening.”

“It came out of nowhere,” Peace said. “And my first reaction was trying to figure out what was going on. And since then, the Department of Defense and the secretary of the Army have both said that as of right now, nothing has changed and they’re going to continue treating trans soldiers with the same dignity and respect as every other soldier. And so, those are my last orders and that’s what I’m going with.”

Peace, 31, said she’s served in the Army for 13 years and gone on two combat deployments and four overseas tours. Peace was able to serve under the previous transgender ban, she said, because she didn’t transition until 2014 or come out until 2015.

At the time the Obama administration lifted its ban on transgender service, Peace recalled being elated as if a weight was lifted from her shoulders.

“When the trans policy first came out, we’d been working on it for well over a year, so it was a slow build up and it was a surprise, but not an unanticipated one,” Peace said.

But that’s all changed in the aftermath of Trump’s announcement, which Peace said has led to “fear and concern and worry” about being possibly expelled from the military.

“It would be devastating,” Peace said. “I can’t imagine a life without the Army, and certainly not now. There’s so much that I want to do. In every way, personally and professionally, it would be devastating for me and my family. It’s hard to think about because I can’t imagine waking up tomorrow and not being a soldier. I don’t even know how to begin thinking about that.”

Army Reserve Capt. Jacob Eleazer, 31, a transgender member of the Kentucky National Guard, said upon hearing the news Trump had banned transgender troops he “thought it was a hoax.”

“I was sitting at work,” Eleazer said. “I had just gotten in and my phone was blowing up. I’m normally not that popular on social media. I was like I better check and see what was going on. A friend of mine had posted the comments and tagged me, and so, that’s how I found out.”

After coming out as transgender in 2014, Eleazer under the previous military ban was on his way to expulsion from the armed forces. But the day he was supposed to be discharged in 2015 was also the day the Army elected to raise its discharge authority for separations on the basis of gender identity, saving him at the last minute.

“I’m kind of sitting here on the other end of things thinking this stuff was over and I’d be able to move forward with my life and my career, and this kind of came out of nowhere,” Eleazaer said.

Eleazer said termination of military service would be “an end of a dream,” citing his upcoming completion of his doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Louisville. Eleazer said his plan was to transfer into a medical position to serve as a military psychologist and work with LGBT patients and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Even delaying the policy at this point is derailing my personal career goals, and it may rob me of a training opportunity at the very least,” Eleazer said. “With a policy banning trans military service overall, I’m going to have to make some pretty drastic changes to my career plans.”

With no formal return to the transgender ban yet underway, Eleazer said he remains in a wait-and-see mode and plans to attend drill this week. Already, Eleazer said he’s found support from his commanding officer, who told him he’d remain in service until further guidance comes down.

“In some ways, I have kind of a positive experience because I have my command that supports me,” Eleazer said. “I’m concerned about what might happen, how things are going to move forward, if we’re going to be getting an order, but right now I’m just kind of waiting to see what actually, officially rolls out.”

A number of voices have emerged challenging Trump’s planned ban on transgender service. Among them are 45 senators urging Mattis to resist Trump on the policy and 56 retired generals and admirals who warned Trump in a joint statement the policy would degrade readiness.

On Tuesday, Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Paul Zukunft said at a military forum he “will not break faith” with transgender people under his command, suggesting he’ll defy Trump on the issue.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had no comment Tuesday on the Coast Guard commandant’s remarks, citing plans for additional guidance.

“I haven’t heard those comments or had a chance to speak with anyone about it, but I know that the goal is to work with all of the relevant departments, primarily the Department of Defense, to lawfully implement that new policy,” Sanders said.

Matthew Thorn, president of the LGBT military group OutServe-SLDN, said signs of support from military leaders like Zukunft are common as transgender troops continue to serve despite Trump’s tweets against their service.

“Our military needs to be focused on the mission and this is a distraction,” Thorn said. “We have two ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and two nations spiraling out of control, Syria and North Korea, respectively. Our trans service members are dedicated to the mission, we can’t afford them to be distracted by a tweet and whether or not this president is going to discharge them from their oath to the country.”

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Harshan

    August 2, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Trump doesn’t write filler words like “please be advised” at the beginning or “thank you” at the end. It was too coherent, too well written, too grammatical, and too much like an announcement over a PA system. It didn’t even end with a word followed by an exclamation point. Someone else wrote it. They want us to be so enraged with the tweet that we don’t see what they are trying to distract us from. We’re taking the bait. We need to find out what they are trying to distract us from.

    • old married lady

      August 4, 2017 at 3:08 pm

      My money’s on Pence having written that. And I’m pretty sure they’re trying to distract us from the subpoenas that were issued and the indictments coming down the pike from Mueller’s office.

    • lnm3921

      August 5, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Well, they surely aren’t distracting us from the fact that the Fake POTUS lied to GLBT Americans time and again about supporting GLBT Americans and protecting them.

      Trump’s actions indicate that is is an enemy of GLBT not a friend. Remember he reversed the Obama administrations court actions for Transgenders seeking bathroom rights before the SCOTUS. He now is pushing Session to declare that existing civil rights laws do not protect GLBT from discrimination. He has refused to acknowledge Pride month and ignores the persecution of gay men in Chechnya! Nothing the Lazy Boy has done supports his lies to us during his campaign!

      Trump is an opportunist, a flip flopper and master at weaving webs of deceit. You can’t trust him! Time to work hard to dump Trump and his administration which promotes the agenda of our enemies. This is the tip of the iceberg and you can expect it to get progressively worse!

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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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