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Vigil against anti-LGBT violence draws over 300 to Dupont Circle

City officials criticized for not approving funds for LGBT-related programs

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A vigil against anti-LGBT violence was held at Dupont Circle on Friday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

More than 300 people turned out in Dupont Circle Friday night for a vigil organized by LGBT activists in response to five separate incidents of violence against LGBT people in the D.C. area since June 13, including the murder of a transgender woman.

Several speakers at the vigil criticized D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council for not approving or advocating for a request by a coalition of LGBT groups earlier this year for an additional $3.5 million in the city’s fiscal year 2020 budget for programs that activists say would address the underlying causes of anti-LGBT violence.

In a makeshift stage at the Dupont Circle fountain, vigil organizers placed a large poster size photo of 23-year old trans woman of color Zoe Spears, who was shot to death June 13 in Fairmount Heights, Md., just across the D.C. boarder at Eastern Avenue.

Organizers placed another poster size photo on the makeshift stage of another trans woman of color, Ashanti Carmon, who was shot to death on March 30 a few blocks from where Spears’ body was found in Fairmount Heights.

People who knew Spears and Carmon said the two were friends and that Spears told them she was present in the Fairmount Heights area where trans and cisgender female sex workers congregate when Carmon was gunned down.

Trans activist Ruby Corado, founder and executive director of the D.C. LGBT community services center Casa Ruby, told the crowd assembled around the fountain and the two large photos that Spears had been a Casa Ruby client and referred to Corado as “mom.”

Ruby Corado, center, speaks at the vigil at Dupont Circle on Friday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

“I want you to look at Zoe’s picture,” Corado said. “This is one of the last pictures I took of her. I want you to look at her smile,” said Corado. “And I want to read her last message to me the week before she died. On Sunday at 12:48 p.m. she said, ‘Hey mom, I’m home … And I love you. Sweet dreams and by the way, happy birthday.’”

According to Corado, on the day before her death Spears sent her one last text message that Corado says she is still trying to understand. ‘Hey mom, can you shoot me $10 so I can eat?”

Corado and others who spoke at the vigil said Spears’ call for money so she could eat was symbolic of her struggle as a trans woman of color to find gainful employment and a sign that existing city programs may be failing trans people in need.

The second of the five incidents during the 6-day period last week involving anti-LGBT violence or threats of violence took place June 15 outside the Casa Ruby offices on Georgia Avenue, N.W. Three trans female Casa Ruby clients reported a man approached them in his car and displayed a gun in the parking lot of a restaurant across the street from Casa Ruby. The women fled the area without being harmed, according to Corado.

A D.C. police report of the incident says the same man a few minutes earlier was observed in the Casa Ruby parking lot by a male Casa Ruby employee. The report says the driver of the car told the employee, “I want my dick sucked, go get me one of those trannies.”

One day later, on June 16, Braden Brecht, 21, and his boyfriend, Karl Craven, 24, were attacked beaten, and robbed by a group of more than a dozen assailants on U Street, N.W., near the gay bar Nellie’s. The attack left Brecht with two broken teeth and stitches in his lip, which he received during a six-hour stay at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, he told the Washington Blade.

Braden Brecht and Karl Craven (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. police, who listed the incident as a hate crime, made three arrests in the case, two juveniles and a 19-year old male identified as Marcus Britt of Fort Washington, Md. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecutes crimes committed by adults in the District, said it dropped the charge against Britt. A spokesperson said the office typically drops charges when evidence is insufficient to result in a conviction at trial.

The Office of the D.C. Attorney General, which prosecutes crimes committed by juveniles, has declined to say whether the charges are still pending against the two juveniles arrested in the attack against Brecht and Craven.

Also on June 16 D.C. police said three people were stabbed by one or more unidentified attackers inside the Dupont Circle gay bar Fireplace. Police released photos of two male suspects taken by a video surveillance camera and have asked the public for help in identifying the suspects. Police said the stabbings were the result of an argument between the suspects and victims. The injuries suffered by the victims were not life-threatening according to police.

Emmelia Talarico speaks at a vigil at Dupont Circle on June 21. (Washington Blade photo by Drew Brown)

The last of the five recent incidents took place on June 18 when trans activist Emmelia Talarico was assaulted by one of three male suspects who shouted anti-LGBT slurs at her as she was attempting to leave a grocery store in the city’s Eckington neighborhood near where she lives.

A police report says Talarico wasn’t seriously injured. But she has said she and her roommates who live in a house operated by the LGBT and sex worker advocacy group No Justice No Pride became alarmed when one of the three suspects who harassed Talarico at the grocery store apparently followed her and a store employee who drove her home and threw rocks at her house after walking onto the front porch.

The report says someone called 911 and although police did not find the rock-throwing suspect, the incident remains under investigation.

Talarico was among several victims of anti-LGBT violence who spoke at the vigil. She faulted the mayor, the D.C. Council, and other public officials for not supporting the full decriminalization of sex work in the city between consenting adults, saying criminalization of sex work leads to violence against sex workers, including trans women of color involved in sex work.

“No more vigils,” she told the gathering. “We should be angry and screaming in the streets.”

Randy Downs, a gay Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner from Dupont Circle and a member of the recently formed Rainbow Caucus of LGBTQ ANC Commissioners, was among the vigil speakers who criticized the D.C. government for not adequately addressing issues the group said can lead to anti-LGBT violence.

Downs noted that the vigil was taking place two days after ANC Rainbow Caucus members sent a letter to D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson (D-At-Large) and other city government leaders calling for the additional funds in the city budget initially called for by 15 LGBT supportive groups earlier this year.

“Our government is failing us,” Downs said at the vigil. “We learned long ago that silence equals death,” he said. “And the silence and inaction of District leaders is killing members of our community or placing them in harm’s way and hospital emergency rooms.”

Added Downs: “We will not be complacent. We will not be silent. And we will hold every single elected leader accountable for their failures.”

Downs blamed the “inaction” of city leaders for some of the anti-LGBT incidents that occurred during the past two weeks, saying LGBT people are “dying of preventable causes” that can be remedied by government action.

“Words of friendship no longer ring true,” he said in referring to D.C. elected officials. “You can no longer march in our parade, throw beads and candy and then in the next week deny us funding and the resources we need. You can no longer march in our parade throwing beads and candy until you give us the resources we deserve.”

Randy Downs speaks at the anti-violence vigil on Friday. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Veteran gay activist Rick Rosendall, former president of the D.C. Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, mentioned while speaking at the vigil that he saw Mendelson was present at the event as a supporter rather than a speaker.

Mendelson and LGBT activists have given conflicting accounts of whether the 15 organizations took adequate steps to inform Mendelson and the D.C. Council as a whole about the urgency of their request for the additional $3.5 million in the city’s budget. Mendelson told the Blade in a May 29 statement that he did not see an April 30 letter the advocacy groups said they sent him and his Council colleagues asking for the additional funds.,

“I, of course, would have been more supportive of the community’s call for more resources,” he said in his statement.

But activists familiar with the interaction with Mendelson and other Council members dispute Mendelson’s explanation, saying representatives of the groups testified before two Council hearings on budget related issues earlier this year, where they clearly asked for the additional $3.5 million in funds.

The activists say representatives of the groups calling for the additional funds had a follow-up meeting with Mendelson’s staff on May 9, where they further articulated the reasons they feel the additional funds were needed.

In her remarks at the vigil Corado said she, too, has made requests for city funds for a Casa Ruby employment assistance program for LGBT people in need, especially trans people. She said both the mayor and Council rebuffed her funding requests for that particular program, although she said Casa Ruby has received city funds for other programs.

Sheila Alexander Reid, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, to which the activists want $3 million of the $3.5 million they are seeking to go, has not immediately responded to a request by the Blade seeking her and the mayor’s position on the activists’ request for the additional funds.

The groups seeking the funds want the Office of LGBTQ Affairs to use the additional $3 million for a community grants program to assist LGBT people in need.

In a statement released on the day of the vigil, Bowser said she stands with the LGBT community in its efforts to stop anti-LGBT violence.

“Washington, D.C. is a city of love, inclusivity, and diversity,” the mayor said. “As a community, we are proud to be guided and defined by those values, and when those values are attacked — when members of the LGBTQ community are harassed, hurt, or targeted in violent crimes in or near D.C. — it should cause every single member of our community to pause and reflect on how we can do better,” she said.

“Today and every day, we must stand together in rejecting bigotry, in doing more to support and protect trans women of color and in looking out for our LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations,” she said.

In a separate statement released on Friday D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said he is committed to aggressively protecting the safety of the LGBT community against hate crimes and other forms of violence.

He said he wanted to make it clear that it was the U.S. Attorney’s Office and not his office that dropped the charge against the 19-year-old man arrested by D.C. police in the attack against Braden and Craven on U Street last week.

But he noted that due to D.C. laws restricting disclosure of information about juveniles charged with crimes he could not provide any information about the two juveniles D.C. police arrested in the attack on Brecht and Craven.

“That means we are not even allowed to disclose whether we are prosecuting a juvenile in a case,” he said.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from the Blade asking whether Racine would support changing the city’s juvenile justice laws to allow the disclosure of the disposition of criminal cases against juveniles without revealing the identity of a juvenile charged in such a case.

Others who spoke at the vigil on Friday were trans activists Gisselle Flores and Charmaine Eccles, D.C. Center for the LGBT Community Director David Mariner, Gertrude Stein Democratic Club President and trans activist Monika Nemeth, former GLAA president Rick Rosendall, Capital Pride Alliance President Ashley Smith and Christopher Massicotte of the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Also speaking was Philip Williams, Ashanti Carmon’s fiancé, who drew loud shouts of support from the crowd as he struggled to overcome his emotions in describing how his life has changed since the woman he loved was murdered on March 30.

“I see couples today and I’m walking alone,” he said.

“We love you!” someone shouted from the crowd. “We are with you,” someone else called out to him.

Drawing similar shouts of support were U Street assault victims Brandon Brecht and Karl Craven, who did not speak but appeared on the makeshift stage after being introduced by D.C. Center director Mariner. The two told the Blade later they were still grappling with the trauma of being attacked and weren’t up to speaking, but they were moved by the love and support they received from the crowd.

“It’s the biggest crowd I’ve been around since it happened,” Brecht told the Blade. “So my anxiety is high but it’s an overwhelming amount of love and so that pushes past my anxiety.”

Trans activist Earline Budd served as moderator of the vigil. Opening and closing prayers were delivered by Bishop Allyson Abrams, Rev. Elder Dyan Akousa, and Rev. Alex Dyer.

The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington received loud and prolonged applause after it sang the civil rights movement anthem “We Shall Overcome”.

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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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