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District of Columbia

D.C. judge denies request to overturn conviction of man charged with anti-gay assault

Attorney argued fractured nose, broken teeth didn’t meet threshold for ‘significant injury’



A D.C. Superior Court judge on May 3 denied a motion filed by a defense attorney calling for overturning the conviction of a D.C. man charged with fracturing the nose and breaking several teeth of a gay man while shouting anti-gay slurs during a May 2022 attack near Logan Circle.

Attorney Quo Mieko Judkins argued at a hearing initially called for the sentencing of her client, Anthony Duncan, 42, that the victim’s injuries did not meet the threshold under D.C. law for the charge of Assault Causing Significant Bodily Injury.

A Superior Court jury on Feb. 27 of this year found Duncan guilty of that charge. But in a development that has raised concern among LGBTQ activists, the jury also found Duncan not guilty of committing the assault as a hate crime based on the victim’s sexual orientation.

At the May 3 court hearing Judge Lynn Leibovitz, who is presiding over the case, ruled against attorney Judkins’ motion to overturn the jury conviction. Leibovitz said the injuries the victim sustained in the attack by Duncan did, in fact, meet the requirements of a charge of Assault Causing Significant Bodily Injury.

Under D.C. law, a conviction on that charge carries a possible maximum sentence of three years in prison and or a fine of up to $12,500.

Before announcing her ruling the judge read from a medical report and a police report that said the victim had to be hospitalized by ambulance after police arrived on the scene of the assault at the intersection of 15th and V Streets, N.W., for uncontrolled bleeding from his nose. The police report says Duncan allegedly punched the victim multiple times in the head and face while holding a metal object in his hand.

The police report says Duncan also made a video of his attack on the victim with his cell phone, which police investigators later watched. One of the police incident reports says Duncan can be heard yelling the word “fag” and “faggot” on the recording he made while assaulting the victim.

One of the police reports also says the victim had been wearing a Stonewall Bocce T-shirt as a member of the local LGBTQ Stonewall sports group. Some LGBTQ activists have speculated that Duncan may have recognized that the victim was wearing a gay-themed T-shirt, prompting him to target the victim for the attack.

After Leibovitz announced her ruling denying the request to overturn Duncan’s conviction, attorney Judkins raised objections to what she said appeared to be incorrect statements in a Presentence Investigation Report on Duncan’s prior criminal record prepared by the Superior Court’s investigations branch.

Among other things, the report says Duncan has been arrested “on 12 occasions and convicted in 8 matters,” with his first known arrest taking place when he was 17 years old.

Leibovitz noted that since a sentencing takes into consideration a defendant’s criminal record, she would give Judkins more time to substantiate Duncan’s claim of possible inaccuracies in the pre-sentence report and would give prosecutors with the Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia time to respond to those claims.

Based on that, Leibovitz announced she would postpone her sentencing of Duncan, which was scheduled to take place at the May 3 hearing, until 10 a.m. on May 9.
In its Government’s Memorandum In Aid Of Sentencing, which was filed in court on April 28, the U.S. Attorney’s office says that under legal precedent it is allowed to raise the issue of Duncan’s anti-gay slurs during the attack even though he was acquitted on a hate crime charge.

“In this case, the defendant – unprovoked – violently attacked the victim in broad daylight, all while calling him homophobic slurs and filming himself doing so,” the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo says. “The victim tried to walk away from the defendant in order to de-escalate the situation, but despite the victim’s efforts, the defendant pursued the victim and attacked him,” the memo says.

The U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo states that it “respectfully requests that the court sentence the defendant to 24 months’ incarceration, execution suspended as to all but 18 months, with 12 months’ supervised probation.” It adds, “The government believes that this sentence will act as a strong deterrent to future criminal conduct.”

The memo also points to one of the claims in the court’s Presentence Investigation Report that Duncan “refuses to take responsibility for his homophobic actions” and “lacks remorse and is unwilling to change.” The presentence report, according to the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo, also says Duncan “does not take responsibility for his actions in this case and in fact he blamed the victim.”

Although it doesn’t say so directly, the sentencing memo appears to be referring to one of the police reports that quoted Duncan as saying at the time of his arrest that the victim provoked the incident when the victim “grabbed” his own “nuts” as the two men crossed paths on the street. The victim has denied he made such a sexual gesture toward Duncan.

Attorney Judkins, who represents Duncan, declined a request by the Washington Blade for comment responding to the assertions in the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing memo and to elaborate on Duncan’s claims that the court’s presentencing report has inaccurate information in it.

Court records show that the D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission Rainbow Caucus, which represents LGBTQ ANC members, and the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community each submitted a community impact statement with the court for the consideration of Judge Leibovitz in her deliberation over handing down a sentence for Duncan on May 9.


District of Columbia

Bowser: No credible threats to D.C. Pride events

Mayor spoke with the Blade after flag-raising ceremony at the Wilson Building



D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser at the flag-raising of the Progress Pride flag at the Wilson Building in D.C. on June 1, 2023. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Thursday said authorities have not received any credible threats to upcoming Pride events.

“We don’t have any to report,” she told the Washington Blade.

“MPD is constantly working with all of our agencies to make sure we have safe special events and we’re going to keep going with our planning, like we do every year,” added Bowser. “There’s always a scan for any threats to the District.”

Bowser spoke with the Blade after she joined D.C. Council Chair Phil Mendelson, Council members Anita Bonds, Charles Allen, Kenyon McDuffie and Zachary Parker, D.C. Attorney General Brian Schwalb, D.C. Mayor’s LGBTQ Affairs Office Director Japer Bowles and other officials and activists in raising the Progress Pride flag in front of the Wilson Building.

The Blade last month reported D.C. police are investigating a bomb threat a Twitter user made against the annual District Pride concert that will take place at the Lincoln Theater on June 29. Bowles in a May 19 statement said his office reported the tweet, but further stressed that “no credible threat at this time has been made.”

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District of Columbia

Point Foundation offers growing range of scholarships, support

‘Resources to succeed and thrive rather than just make it through’



Celina Gerbic, a member of the Point Foundation’s board of directors, speaks at last year’s event. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Many in D.C. know the Point Foundation for its longstanding scholarship program and its popular Taste of Point fundraiser each spring. But the nonprofit is offering a growing range of services to its young scholars, including mental health resources and social media support.

This year’s Taste of Point brought mixologists, restaurateurs, and donors together on May 3 at Room and Board for the annual celebration. With a number of local businesses and organizations donating to the silent auction, the event both raised money for Point Foundation’s scholarships while recognizing scholarship recipients and program alumni.

Among the lineup of featured speakers was one of the foundation’s flagship scholarship recipients, Rio Dennis, a dual master’s and law candidate at Georgetown University.

“I applied for the Point Foundation Flagship Scholarship because I believed in its mission of helping LGBTQ+ students achieve their academic goals while also providing training and resources so we can become better leaders within the LGBTQ community during school and long term,” Dennis said in her speech. 

The Taste of Point celebration began in 2013, born from another event called the Cornerstone Reception. Originally planned as a normal fundraiser with hor d’oeuvres, the foundation transformed it into the current Taste of Point celebration that facilitates partnerships with new, local restaurants.

Some restaurants, like Compass Rose and Hank’s Oyster Bar, partnered with Point Foundation for their first celebration. They have been catering at the fundraiser ever since.

“It really gives you the sense of the amount of love and the amount of community that we have around the Point Foundation and mission,” said Celina Gerbic, a member on the foundation’s board of directors. “They really see, with hearing from the scholars, what the effects can be if we’re raising money for those scholarships and mentoring opportunities.”

The event also allows the foundation to showcase new offerings, such as the Community College Scholarship that was rolled out just before the pandemic in collaboration with Wells Fargo. The community college program gives scholars a financial scholarship each year of their community college experience as well as coaching and admissions counseling for students planning to transfer to a university. 

Meanwhile, the foundation is also expanding its new BIPOC scholarship, which announced its next round of recipients on May 22. The scholarship is currently supporting between 500 and 555 scholars across the country.

Omari Foote, one of the current BIPOC scholarship recipients, appreciates how the scholarship recognizes her as a Black queer student. She is even encouraging other queer students and friends to apply to receive similar assistance.

However, Point is even more than that, Dennis notes. 

Before the school year started, the Point Foundation sent Dennis and all of the new flagship scholars to Los Angeles for a leadership development conference. Scholars discussed how to become active leaders on campus, how to ask for certain resources, what is offered by their campuses, and what tutoring programs are available.

This year, Point also did a joint partnership with an online therapy program to offer discounted prices for all scholars. 

“I have anxiety and depression and I struggled a lot in undergrad with trying to balance that with my having to support myself financially,” Dennis said. “So I was definitely grateful that Georgetown did have a program that is specifically for people of color to get free therapy and Point definitely helped with… asking those questions because it is one of those programs that isn’t as well publicized.”

Point even provided Dennis with a mentor who was also a Point Scholar in law school. Meeting monthly on Zoom and texting all throughout the month, Dennis’s mentor provides academic support that helps her use the right resources and make decisions about her career.

Foote finds the scholarship unique in other ways as well. As a recipient of a handful of other scholarships outside of Point, Foote’s interactions with her scholarship programs mostly stop after they send instructions for writing donor thank you notes. But Point keeps reaching out to maintain a relationship with scholars long after that.

“They’ve reached out to me to spotlight me on Instagram,” Foote said. “They reached out to me even for this dinner, paying for my transportation to and from the dinner … It’s like they’re not just there to give you the money. They’re there to really help you navigate the college world and to be that caring supportive system that a lot of us just don’t have anymore now that we are living by ourselves.”

Last November, the foundation also held an Out in Higher Ed Week, wherein they teach scholars how to be LGBTQ+ advocates on campus. These resources help students navigate the ins and outs of discussing LGBTQ+ issues in university settings.

After graduation, Dennis has even thought about returning to the Point Foundation as a mentor to help future Black queer students, especially first generation law students, balance their mental health and financial situations.

“Point has connected me with fellow scholars who have become my friends. Point has provided me with resources and support to succeed and thrive rather than just make it through,” Dennis said. “I definitely plan on continuing to be involved with Point.”

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District of Columbia

D.C.’s Pride celebrations include parade, festival, fireworks, and more

More than 100 events for all ages planned for June



The Blade’s Pride on the Pier returns June 10 with the region’s only Pride fireworks display at 9 p.m.

More than 100 different events for all ages and interests will take place in D.C. for Pride month.

The Capital Pride Alliance will officially kick off Pride month on Thursday with a show from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sasha Velour, the 17th Official D.C. Latinx Pride Party and more at Bunker (2001 14th St., N.W.)

Capital Pride on Friday will hold Capital Pride Honors at Penn Social (801 E St., N.W.). Capital Pride every Pride month honors individuals and organizations that have made a lasting impact on D.C.’s LGBTQ community. Among the honorees this year is the National LGBTQ Task Force, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The Washington Nationals will host the 17th annual Pride Night Out on June 6. With the purchase of a Pride ticket, attendees will receive a Pride T-shirt and $5 from their ticket will go to support Team DC, which helps to support the LGBTQ community in sports.

D.C.’s largest Pride event, the Capital Pride Parade, will take place on June 10. The parade will follow a 1.5-mile route, which will step off on 14th Street at T Street, N.W., and finish on P Street at 21st Street N.W. A map of the expected parade route can be found on the Capital Pride website

During the parade, the Capital Block Party will take place at the intersection of Q and 17th Streets. The party will feature local vendors, food trucks and a 21+ beverage garden. The party will also have a designated viewing area for families with children to watch the parade, along with other children’s activities. 

The Wharf will be home to the fourth annual Pride on the Pier during the parade, hosted by the Washington Blade, LURe DC and the Wharf. The event, held from 2-9 p.m., will feature a fireworks show at 9 p.m., a DJ, drag performances, and more. VIP tickets are available in two shifts, offering catered food, open bar, and more. The fireworks display is sponsored by the Leonard-Litz LGBTQ Foundation. For more information and to buy VIP tickets, visit General admission to the festivities on the pier is free.

The parade will be followed by the Capital Pride Festival on June 11. Taking place on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., the festival will feature more than 300 booths with local vendors, businesses and organizations. From 12-8 p.m., the Capital Pride Concert will host acts such as Broadway actress Idina Menzel and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Monét X Change.

From June 5-Aug. 11, ARTECHOUSE will be exhibiting its newest exhibit “PIXELBLOOM: Timeless Butterflies.” Visitors can use the promo code “PRIDE20” to get 20 percent off their ticket during Pride month.

Throughout the summer, Capital Pride will also host a variety of online events. In partnership with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Capital Pride will host Youth in Action: Wearing Our PRIDE, which will feature young indigenous activists working toward social justice. Capital Pride will also host Zoom affinity support groups and social hours.

Further details and a full calendar of events can be found on the Capital Pride website.

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