Showing posts with label Gay Friendly Police. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Friendly Police. Show all posts

June 8, 2019

NYC Police Commissioner Apologizes For The Actions of Police in 1969 Outside a Gay Bar




Crowds near the Stonewall Inn several days after the raid on June 29, 1969.
Credit
Larry Morris/The New York Time

By Michael Gold and Derek M. Norma (New York Times)




The commissioner, James O’Neill, said he was sorry on behalf of the New York Police Department for officers’ actions during a seminal 1969 clash outside a gay bar.


The violent police raid at the Stonewall Inn in New York City in 1969 is widely regarded as a seminal event in the gay rights movement. But police officials had long refused to admit that officers’ behavior and the raid itself were not justified, leaving a rift between law enforcement and gay-rights supporters that seemed to deepen distrust over the years.

On Thursday, as people around the world began commemorating the 50th anniversary of the clash, New York’s police commissioner took a step toward making amends, issuing an unusual official apology on behalf of the Police Department for the actions of officers during the Stonewall uprising.

“The actions taken by the N.Y.P.D. were wrong — plain and simple,” the commissioner, James P. O’Neill, said during an event at Police Headquarters.

It was an admission that gay rights leaders said was momentous and unexpected, if overdue.

“To have the N.Y.P.D. commissioner make these very explicit remarks apologizing, it’s really moving,” said Corey Johnson, the City Council speaker, who is gay and who had a day earlier called for a police apology. 
Still, some cautioned the Police Department that its future actions needed to back up its words.

“The history of police violence and criminalization of L.G.B.T.Q. people sadly continues to this day,” said Richard Saenz, an attorney at Lambda Legal, a national civil rights organization.

Politicians and gay rights leaders had stepped up their calls for Mr. O’Neill to apologize in recent months, urging a public reckoning as New York hosts World Pride, a global gathering that is taking place in the city this year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising.

During a safety briefing related to World Pride at Police Headquarters, the commissioner offered the formal apology that Police Department officials, including Mr. O’Neill himself, had said for years was unnecessary.

“I think it would be irresponsible to go through World Pride month, not to speak of the events at the Stonewall Inn in June of 1969,” Mr. O’Neill said. “I do know what happened should not have happened.” 
“The actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize,” he added.
The auditorium erupted in applause.
New York’s police commissioner, James P. O’Neill, apologized on Thursday on behalf of the Police Department for officers’ actions during the Stonewall rebellion. 

The Stonewall uprising began shortly after midnight on June 28, 1969, when officers with the now-defunct Public Morals Squad raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.

The police said they had arrived to disperse the bar’s patrons because the Stonewall Inn had violated liquor laws. Eight officers and an inspector arrived at the club and ordered about 200 people to line up and show their identification. Some were asked to submit to anatomical inspections.

The officers’ behavior that night would quickly become a stain on the department and an electrifying force for the L.G.B.T. movement.

“They came to the bar. They slammed people against the wall. They shoved people, and they hurled insults that you can probably imagine,” said Mark Segal, 68, who participated in the protests that night.    

Stonewall patrons, fed up with longstanding harassment at the hands of law enforcement, pushed back.

As officers conducted the raid, a crowd gathered outside, shouting “gay power.” Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who were forced out of the bar that night taunted the police. Some threw bottles and stones.

The ensuing clash lasted for about an hour, but days of street protests followed, resulting in arrests, injuries, and property damage.
Celebrations followed a rebellion that lasted for several days.
Credit
Fred W. McDarrah/Getty Images 
Celebrations followed a rebellion that lasted for several days.CreditFred W. McDarrah/Getty Images
Mr. O’Neill’s comments signaled a remarkable moment in the city’s history, a long-awaited acknowledgment of the Police Department’s role in harassing gays in past decades.

In the 1960s, it was common for the police to raid gay bars, arrest cross-dressers and harass customers, often on the pretext of cracking down on prostitution or other organized crime activities. 

Over time, the department’s attitudes toward L.G.B.T. people have shifted, but anti-gay attitudes remained rampant in the police force for decades after the Stonewall uprising. In 1978, the president of the city’s largest police union said in an op-ed in The New York Times that having gay police officers was an “unworkable” idea.

As social attitudes and norms changed, so did the Police Department. In a watershed moment in 1982, Sgt. Charles H. Cochrane started the first Gay Officers Action League chapter, an association of gay police officers.

The department now boasts of hundreds of L.G.B.T. officers in its ranks, and since 1996, gay police officers have marched in uniform in New York City’s pride parade — an event that started to commemorate the uprising at Stonewall.

In his remarks on Thursday, Mr. O’Neill proclaimed that times had drastically changed since the raid.

“I vow to the L.G.B.T.Q. community that this would never happen in the N.Y.P.D. in 2019,” Mr. O’Neill said. “We have, and we do, embrace all New Yorkers.”

The Police Department had resisted calls for an apology in the past. In 2016, at a news conference discussing security for that year’s Pride March, William J. Bratton, the commissioner at the time, said he did not believe an apology was necessary.

The following year, a day after the Pride March, Mr. O’Neill also declined to apologize. “I think that’s been addressed already,” he said. “We’re moving forward.” 

Still, allegations of bias have persisted in the department.

“A lot more action has to be done to undo the history of discrimination and current N.Y.P.D. practices,” said Tina Luongo, a lawyer with the Legal Aid Society.

In 2017, an internal watchdog found that the city’s police officers still lacked proper training in how to interact with L.G.B.T. victims and complainants.

A lawsuit filed in January by a transgender woman accused police officers of ridiculing her during her arrest and charging her with incorrectly filling out her gender on an official form.

Mr. Saenz said that transgender people, especially transgender women of color, were particularly vulnerable to police misconduct.

A national survey of nearly 28,000 transgender Americans conducted in 2015 found that 58 percent of respondents had experienced some form of mistreatment by police.

Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement that she believed those police officers in New York continued to harass and abuse transgender people.

“The N.Y.P.D. must commit itself to the true change in practices and policies necessary to address the crisis of violence facing transgender people,” she said. 

Even so, she thanked Mr. O’Neill for his apology.

At the Stonewall Inn, now a national monument, dozens of people were present on Thursday paying homage to the history that had taken place there.

Stacy Lentz, 49, a co-owner of the Stonewall Inn since 2006, called Mr. O’Neill’s remarks a strong first step toward improving relationships between the police and the L.G.B.T. community.

“For the police commissioner to apologize like that — it’s just incredible,” Ms. Lentz said.

But she said there was room for improvement.

“The battle that was started here is not over,” she added. “But today was about visibility, and visibility saves lives.”

Ali Watkins contributed reporting.

June 18, 2017

NY Gay Officers League to Honor The Twerk Sexy Cop, A Hetero Cop Never Looked So Good!



A video will be showcased of the NYPD cop dancing during gay pride parade in New York City

  





It was the twerk seen round the world — a 12-second video clip of a straight NYPD cop dancing with a Pride Parade reveler that quickly became a shining example of the department’s ever-improving relationship with the city’s LGBT community. 

This Wednesday, that video will take center stage as the NYPD’s Gay Officers Action League posthumously honors the cop in that clip who recently died of a 9/11 related cancer.
Police Officer Michael Hance’s family will be in attendance when GOAL acknowledges the fallen cop with their Ally Award for his impromptu dance as he stood a post during the city’s 2015 Pride Parade.
The award will be given out at the 2017 NYPD Pride Celebration at 1 Police Plaza. “People look at what he did and say, ‘OK it’s a (short) clip’ — but that video was viewed nearly 10 million times,” said GOAL president Brian Downey. 

The NYPD’s Gay Officers Action League will honor the late Police Officer Michael Hance who recently died of a 9/11 related cancer.

  (DAVID WEXLER/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“We’re so appreciative of the attention that was drawn by this one act of kindness.”
Hance died of 9/11 related cancer in March. 
The 44-year-old cop, who worked out of the 111th Precinct station house in Bayside, Queens, was diagnosed with brain cancer in November after he fell in front of his home and complained of feeling dizzy, family members said.As he fought the disease, the cancer spread to his lungs, liver and chest.

 The heterosexual Hance lifted the city’s spirits two years ago when a cell phone video that showed him dancing, on duty and in uniform, with reveler Aaron Santis at the Manhattan Pride Parade went viral.
Santis was marching with the Big Apple Softball League, an LGBT sports group, when he started dancing in front of Hance. The Queens cop quickly joined in and began grooving to the Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop’ Til You Get Enough.”
He then turned and started twerking while Santis was grinding behind him.
Downey hopes the award will bring attention to the fact that people are still dying under the shadow cast by the 9/11 terror attacks.
“People are still getting sick,” Downey said. “The attacks didn’t care about your sexual orientation, or race. They didn’t care if you were a cop or a firefighter. It was just pure evil.”
Hance, a resident of Bethpage, L.I., left behind daughters Kaitlyn, 12, and Jenna, 10. 
At the time of his death, family members shrugged off all the attention the video had brought Hance, claiming that the hero cop — who was honored in 2005 for saving an infant who choked on a Lego — was a people person who liked a good party.
Attempts to reach Hance’s family were unsuccessful Saturday.
Other honorees receiving awards on Wednesday include NYPD Deputy Commissioner Cathleen Perez, who will also receive GOAL’s Ally Award and Andy Cohen, star of Bravo TV's “Watch What Happens Live,” who will be the event’s keynote speaker and receive the group’s Visibility Award.”


THOMAS TRACY

June 15, 2017

Cops Not Raiding Bars Now but Marching Pride Except Volusia County Fl.





When Lillian Faderman came out as a gay woman in the 1950s, she thought of police as “the enemy.” There was good reason for that: Police enforced anti-gay laws that banned homosexual acts, cops regularly raided gay bars, and LGBTQ communities often resorted to policing and taking care of themselves because they knew a lot of society, including cops, would simply dismiss their problems or make them worse.
More than six decades later, Faderman sat at the Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast, a fundraiser for LGBTQ people in San Diego. Several police officers sat at her table. They were there to support a fellow cop — a transgender woman — who was being honored at the meeting.
“To me, that was so miraculous,” Faderman, a historian who’s written multiple books about LGBTQ people, told me. “That this has happened is such an incredible turnaround from the way things used to be.”
There’s another side to this: the stories of “walking while trans” — of police profiling trans women, particularly those of color, as sex workers and arresting them. In May 2013, Monica Jones accepted a ride from two undercover officers to a bar in her Phoenix neighborhood. She never offered any sexual acts, but her limited interaction with police and the cops’ suspicions were all they needed, under city law, to arrest her for “manifesting prostitution” — charges that would be later dropped after months of court battles.
Jones isn’t alone. A 2014 report from Columbia University found LGBTQ youth and trans women of color in particular “are endemically profiled as being engaged in sex work, public lewdness, or other sexual offenses.” In many of these cases, law enforcement will even use the possession of condoms as evidence of prostitution-related offenses. 
“Surely, no heterosexual white man would be arrested on suspicion of prostitution for carrying condoms in his pocket,” the report noted. “Yet policing tactics that hyper-sexualize LGBT people, and presume guilt or dishonesty based on sexual orientation or gender identity, are deployed by law enforcement every day.”
This relationship is one of the reasons the activist group No Justice No Pride disrupted the Capital Pride march in Washington, DC, over the weekend. Protesters demanded local law enforcement participants be dropped from the event due to the tense history with people of color, particularly those who identify as LGBTQ. 
The mixed stories speak to the tumultuous relationship that’s always existed between police and LGBTQ people: Although cops are supposed to protect us all, they have also often been used to enforce — and individually reflect — the prejudices of their time. There’s much less of that prejudice nowadays, but what lingers still strains police-LGBTQ relations in America.

A history of anti-LGBTQ abuse

The modern LGBTQ Pride movement first began as a result of police abuses. Through the late 1960s, it was common for police to raid gay establishments simply to destroy LGBTQ-friendly spaces. At New York’s Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, patrons were fed up. In an uprising that included everyone from gay men to trans women of color, they rioted for four nights. The next year, the first Pride march commemorated the LGBTQ activists who fought back.
In her book The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, Faderman offered an anecdote that shows just how horrible police-LGBTQ relations were at this time:
[Minister Ted MicIlvenna, an LGBTQ activist, had] been called to help two homosexual men whose genitals had been kicked in. They were writhing in pain. He telephoned the Presbyterian Hospital for an ambulance, but the dispatcher refused to send one after McIlvenna mentioned the men were homosexuals. McIlvenna wanted to call the police, but the injured men stopped him. “It was the police who did the kicking,” they said.
This was reflective of the experiences LGBTQ people had with police in general. “If you were robbed, you would be scared to call the police,” Faderman said. “They were really scary. They were as bad as whoever the perpetrator of the crime against you was.”
These kinds of abuses existed at a systemic level. For one, police were charged with enforcing anti-LGBTQ laws. In 1969, the year of the Stonewall riots, every state but Illinois had an anti-sodomy law on its books, essentially making consensual sex between people of the same gender illegal.
States repealed these laws over time, but it took a 2003 Supreme Court ruling to strike all of them down. Still, some remain on the books, although they legally and constitutionally can’t be enforced. (Though some cops have tried anyway — like in 2013, when East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, officers arrested men for “attempted crimes against nature,” citing the anti-sodomy law. The prosecutor later declined to file charges, calling the law unenforceable.)
Stories of these abuses and laws permeated LGBTQ communities, creating the perspective that police were “the enemy.” 
“What we all knew [in the 1950s] is that the bars could be raided at any time. Just walking outside, if there was a police car coming by, you knew that was potential trouble,” Faderman said. “It was true in New York and everywhere else in the United States: The police were our enemies. They were out to get us. It was a fact.”

Progress, but much work left to be done

Things have changed. These days, police, particularly in major cities, make concerted efforts to reach out to LGBTQ people. That’s one reason they participate in Pride. But they also do all sorts of other things, such as hire LGBTQ liaisons to work closely with local LGBTQ communities. And notably, they’re now charged with enforcing hate crime laws that include at least some of the LGBTQ community in most states — an effective reversal of roles, from oppressing LGBTQ communities to protecting them.
Much of this is reflective of changing social attitudes. Back in the 1970s, Americans were evenly divided on whether gay or lesbian relations between consenting adults should be legal. Today, a big majority of Americans agree they should be legal, based on Gallup’s polling. We’ve seen similar changes in attitudes about all sorts of LGBTQ issues, from marriage equality to laws that prohibit discrimination in the workplace.
A chart of polling about whether homosexual acts should be legal.
This Pride Month, several marches have even involved police — not just watching the crowds, but actively participating in marches across the country.
But this isn’t without controversy. In Toronto, Canada, police won’t attend the city’s Pride march in uniform this year after facing resistance from some attendees affiliated with Black Lives Matter, who argued that police present a threat to LGBTQ people of color and especially trans women. In response, New York City Pride attendees invited Toronto police to participate in the Big Apple parade.
There have been similar divisions across the US. In Washington, DC, this year, a group known as No Justice No Pride wanted uniformed police banned from the celebrations, while Pride organizers insisted police will be included. In 2015, #BlackoutPride protesters temporarily halted the Chicago Pride parade — citing police’s historic and current abuses against LGBTQ communities — to cheers and boos from the crowd. The cops attending these marches are frequently LGBTQ, putting them in the middle of two communities.
LGBTQ people still face cascading problems all throughout the criminal justice system. According to a 2016 report from the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress, LGBTQ people — particularly those of color and trans women — are more likely to be thrown into the criminal justice system and face worse conditions once they’re in.
The report cited the experiences of trans women of color:
In Human Rights Watch's examination of policing in New Orleans, for example, transgender women were subjected to constant harassment, verbal abuse, and stops for suspicion of prostitution; these women also were sometimes asked for sex in exchange for leniency. Transgender women frequently report that police assume they are participating in sex work simply because they are "walking while transgender" or because condoms are found during a frisk.
When citing LGBTQ people for prostitution and related offenses, police also may charge them with additional crimes that bring added punishments. Until very recently, LGBTQ people in Louisiana, in particular African-American transgender women, who were arrested for prostitution-related crimes were at risk for being charged under the state’s "crimes against nature" statute. This law singled out solicitation of oral and anal sex for harsher punishment, including registration as a sex offender.
Once in the prison system, LGBTQ people are more likely to face horrible conditions. Among all inmates, the rate of sexual assault is about 2 percent, according to the report. But among non-heterosexual inmates, the rate is 12.2 percent. Among trans inmates, it’s 24.1 percent — so nearly one in four trans people report sexual assault in prison.
Last year I covered the story of Samantha Hill, a trans woman in the federal prison system. Before she was finally transferred to a minimum-security Kentucky facility where she’s finally much safer, Hill was sexually assaulted at least eight times. She complained all along the way — only for the prison system to repeatedly ignore her until she finally got the legal representation she needed to fight for her. And Hill is far from alone, with trans inmates like Passion Star in Texas and Ashley Diamond in Georgia sharing similar stories.
These are the kinds of examples that have driven some LGBTQ groups, especially in alignment with the Black Lives Matter movement, to protest uniformed police officers in Pride: For many in the community, police simply have not earned their place. 
“The reality is that while the [DC Metropolitan Police Department] and the brave officers serving in the LGBT Liaison Unit strive to support and protect the LGBTQ community, there remains an understandable lack of trust in this allyship given high rates of police brutality and harassment toward Black and Brown individuals, especially transgender women,” said Guillaume Bagal, president of the DC-based GLAA. “Although GLAA does not wish to exclude the MPD from Capital Pride events, as a sign of commitment to the work that remains to be done, they should show up to this space unarmed and not in uniform.”
So despite the progress, many LGBTQ activists believe there’s still a lot of work to be done before police officers can take part in Pride and honestly say that the institutions they represent fully respect LGBTQ people.
vox.com
What is going on on Volusia County Florida? Cops in bathroom looking for men to arrest.

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