Out and Equal Workplace Advocates CEO Erin Uritus and Steve Roth, the organization’s senior director of global initiatives, both took part in the conference. The Washington Blade had a chance to sit down with both of them.
Washington Blade: Does Out and Equal have any data on what the biggest challenges are to achieving equality in the workplace in Brazil? What could be done in the face of those challenges?
Erin Uritus: We don’t have any specific data on LGBTIQ equality in the workplace in Brazil, because as far as we know this data does not exist yet. However, I think what the whole world knows is that Brazil has the highest number of homicides of transgender people and I think around 400 homicides of LGBTIQ people just in 2017. So, we know that the level of LGBTIQ violence in Brazil is high. But besides this data what we know is coming out of companies that are doing a good work in promoting diversity. Brazilian companies like Mattos Filho, a law firm, and Itaú, one of the biggest banks in the country, are companies that just started their diversity journey in the last few years but they are telling us that they have real data coming from their actual employees in their HR departments saying that it’s easier for them to recruit better people and once they have people they don’t lose them. They are seeing right in front of them real data on how inclusive their workplaces are becoming. We have more data from multinational companies that share with us, such as J.P. Morgan, SAP, IBM and Bloomberg. These are companies that collect a lot of data in the U.S., so they know more about inclusiveness in the workplace. I believe that countries have different laws about what data you can collect and the Brazilian companies have just begun this journey. So, it is only a matter of time before more data comes out about this in Brazil.
Blade: What’s the importance for Out and Equal focusing on Brazil? And why is this happening right now?
Uritus: It’s important for us for many reasons. A few years ago, in Out and Equal’s strategic plan we were largely focused on the U.S. and Fortune 1000 companies and that is still our strongest base. But about five years ago we decided it was time, especially with multinational companies, to start expanding globally. And we weren’t quite sure where should we go. We started doing the work in Brazil three years ago and J.P. Morgan invited us to do our first Out and Equal LGBT Brazil Forum. So now we have three years under our belt working here in Brazil and every time we come back there is not only more good working going on but there is more opportunity to create a bigger impact. For us Brazil is a very strategic investment. We are also doing work in China and India for the second year but it’s much smaller and the political and cultural challenges are much different. In Brazil, we feel like we already have an investment in the local LGBTIQ community and their network is very strong and then you have the leaderships in diversity and inclusion work already taking root in Brazilian companies. For us it is strategically important that not only we maintain but also increase our emphasis in areas of the world like this where all the right pieces of the puzzle are coming together and for us this is Brazil.
Blade: What are the key challenges faced by Out and Equal in working towards equality and inclusion in the workplace and safeguarding it?
Uritus: There are so many challenges, but so many opportunities. Number one we know the community is growing and diversifying in the U.S. and around the world. We know based on multiple studies that 20 percent of millennials identify as LGBTIQ. And we know that in the U.S. 75 percent of the workforce will be millennials by 2025. We also know that 52 percent of Gen Z, the generation coming after the millennials, identify as LGBTIQ or “not straight.” This is not only very interesting and scary for some companies, but it is an opportunity for them to dive in with us in understanding how the community is diversifying so they don’t lose traction and move forward. So, this is a big challenge and it is also a really good opportunity. Another big challenge is gender identity and expression in the workplace. Because depending on the country you are in, city you are in, state you are in and company you are in; there are still people outside our community and even within it that don’t understand identity. So, there is still a lot of awareness and education that needs to happen, especially around transgender identity. Twenty years ago, only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies had policies that protected LGBTIQ people from workplace discrimination. Today that is closer to 95 percent. So, the challenge we had 21 years ago when (former CEO) Selisse Berry started this organization was much bigger than today. But in addition to that there is a challenge today that is more mechanical and organizational because there is so much happening today but how do we leverage technology to make best practices available and searchable so people can dialogue about that? One of the things we are thinking of doing today is creating a digital portal where best practices from multinational companies, from governments, from a company from Brazil can all be put in a centralized place because we want to have the most impact possible and we don’t want people starting over in their searching on how to do this. Our challenge is how to bring people together and share.
Blade: You talked about 20 percent of millennials identifying as LGBTIQ. Do you think that as we go forward millennials can be the driving force in promoting equality in the workplace and in the community?
Uritus: What the data shows not only with millennials but even younger, with Gen Z, is that the community is expanding and diversifying specially with the bi-plus and the queer part of that. So, I think the community is growing and what we are getting to know is that not only they want to work in diverse and inclusive workplaces, they demand it. And if you are not a diverse inclusive workplace they will go work someplace else. In fact, there is othe research that has been done that shows how people, especially when economies are good, will choose not only inclusive companies to work for but also inclusive cities to live in. And this is why you see in some of the creative cities movement and work that cities like Toronto and many cities around the U.S. know the importance of being inclusive because millennials will not move there unless they have vibrant diverse communities. We have a lot of hope for the new generation, and also a lot of expectations, enthusiasm and positivity.
Blade: Erin, you have been CEO of Out and Equal for just three months. When you got the job, what was the first thing on your to do list?
Uritus: The first thing I actually did and it is still a priority that I am carrying with me these first few months is to listen. I need to better understand our community as well. This is also a journey for me. So, I want to hear people’s stories about their identities and their experiences in the workplace. Especially I want to listen to their experiences this year. Because if I was the CEO during the Obama administration I would be listening for different things. Now, with the Trump administration in place and with what is happening in the workplace I am listening to both people who are struggling maybe in the government and maybe in companies that are not focused on LGBTIQ equality. But also, even despite the difficulty there is so much work happening that is positive: People who I think are part of the resistance, who are currently in the workplace, I am asking them and listening to what are the experimental and innovative practices that they are trying in face of difficulties because we don’t want to lose the ground that we have gained. My number one priority has been to get to know everybody in the community and to really listen to them to bring all of that data into our strategic planning process. In addition to that I am getting to know all of the talents of my wonderful staff. The staff is incredibly smart and strong, and they have been doing really good work. I am also getting to come to a country like Brazil and understanding what it’s like in one of the countries that we’ve been supporting.
Blade: We already talked about how the transgender community is marginalized, especially here in Brazil. Do you think trans rights and inclusion in the workplace is the next frontier?
Steve Roth: I think it’s one of the biggest challenges for sure and that is what we are hearing in our meetings and seeing here in Brazil. But also, people of color, someone pointed out that there was one or two here in the conference. So, what that is about more broadly is diversity within the LGBTIQ community. Transgender people are a particularly important issue right now. Education is a big challenge with the transgender community because most kids get kicked out of their homes so they don’t get a good education which means they can’t get a good job and often much end up working on the streets as sex workers and it becomes this kind of building cycle. Just this week we talked with some companies that are starting transgender initiatives and programs, and part of it is focusing of course in education and training. But there is also the need for sensitivity training within the company, so people can understand transgender issues. In my understanding of Brazil, there is still confusion between sexual orientation and gender identity. People still think that someone gay wants to be a woman. It is a big need but there is some work starting to be done. In our Brazil Forum last year, we hosted a panel on transgender issues and we at Out and Equal have what we call our transgender guidelines, which is a document a company needs to facilitate the process to transgender workers who are transitioning at work.
Blade: Are there different issues in different places around the world in terms of equality in the workplace around the globe or are there general issues that everyone faces?
Uritus: At the very core of that issue there is the reality that different countries have different laws and workplace policies. There are places where you can still suffer for coming out. And in fact, even in the U.S. we don’t have laws protecting our community in 29 states. You can come to work and put a picture of your partner at your desk, come out and be fired that day. Around the world it starts with what the local laws are and the workplace policies. What we know about belonging and authenticity based on recent social science research is that you can be in a room full of people and feel lonely, and you can be with only one person and be able to be authentically yourself. It is really about being able to be your true self and for us in our community that means being out and able to bring your whole self to work.
Roth: I agree. And I think that the core is that around the world the same kind of issues and challenges are faced. They may manifest themselves differently in each country or context depending on laws, culture and society. Just to talk about the examples we know, like Brazil, has a traditional religious culture with Catholicism and now the growth of evangelicalism, but you have a pretty friendly legal framework working for LGBTIQ people. In June, we are going to China and there is not illegal to be gay but the government is very involved and very controlling of everything so you have to be careful about what you say and don’t say. When we go to India in July or August we will be faced with a much different scenario because there is the misunderstanding, even in HR departments, that it is illegal to be gay, which is not, what’s illegal technically is gay intercourse. So, if an HR director thinks it’s illegal to be gay, of course they are not going to have any kind of programs for LGBTIQ people in the workplace. So that is a special kind of educational challenge. We are going to do special events there for HR, but also for legal departments because they need to know the reality of their legal situation.
Blade: What can we expect from the Out and Equal 2018 Brazilian Forum on Nov. 28-29?
Roth: This is our third year here in Brazil and the event has been building and growing each year. At its core, the forum is about some of the things Out and Equal does best, which is bringing people together to exchange ideas and to share best practices, network and connect. This year we’ll have a full day of programming, and for the first time we are going to have two tracks, divided between companies that are just beginning to implement their programs for LGBTIQ people and companies that are already doing a lot of initiatives. We are speaking with more NGOs and institutions here in Brazil, like the LGBT Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, so you’ll see more collaborations with those groups and what they are doing. Last year for the first time we introduced our Brazil Excellence Awards and we are going to expand that so we have more categories and more recognition. We are having a reception the night before the forum to promote even more networking. And also, this year we are going to reach out more for places outside of São Paulo, where the Forum takes place, so it’ll be even more of a national event.
Blade: When a company asks why does inclusion in the workplace matter, how do you answer?
Uritus: I think inclusion matters first of all because it is the right thing to do if you care about your employees. But I think that the data that keeps coming out from reports shows that it is good for business because being more LGBTIQ inclusive attracts better talent and people who feel welcome at the workforce will stay and be loyal to your company. We also know that it contributes to innovation and creativity. And finally, if you have a more diverse and inclusive workforce you naturally understand your customer base better. It is something called customer orientation where the diversity inside helps you understand how to better advertise and sell your products to a more diverse society.
Blade: The word advocate is a part of your organization’s name. What is your definition of an advocate?
Uritus: I think advocating, in our case for workplace equality, is about standing up for what is right, standing up for LGBTIQ people and professionals in whatever work environment they are in. I think also in recent years advocating includes the work of allies. It’s not just about gay people advocating for gay people anymore; it is including everybody who cares about us and just wants to do what is right. So, to me it also means helping allies help our community in the workplace.
Equality Act, contorted as a danger by anti-LGBTQ forces, is all but dead
No political willpower to force vote or reach a compromise
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.
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
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.
D.C. man charged with 2020 anti-gay death threat rearrested
Defendant implicated in three anti-LGBTQ incidents since 2011
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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