California | Law Enforcement | News | Santa Ana

Noose Hung on Door of Equality California Office. Police Shrug: 'Sometimes You Have to Live with Being a Victim'


Mel Distel, a 25-year-old volunteer at Equality California's Santa Ana branch reports that she arrived at work last night to find a noose hanging on the door of the office.

Distel Wait till you hear what the police officers she called had to say:

When the police arrived, two officers spoke to Daniel and myself outside.  The male officer dominated the conversation.  There was nothing they could do, of course, there was no suspect and no crime had been committed. The officer said "what it is, is a string on a door."  My vision got blurry, I was embarrased and felt stupid for making the call.  I took a deep breath and said "Do you see any correlation between the fact that this is a gay office and there was a noose left on our door in the wake of all of these teen suicides?"  The officer said, "Sometimes you just have to live with being a victim," and proceeded to mention that his car had been broken into before. As if that's the same. As if having your stereo stolen is anything like the message "You should kill yourself."  As if random theft is anything like an act meant to convey hate and stir up fear in the heart of a minority group.

I want to thank Karla for having a long discussion with the sargeant about the situation.  No, it was not legally a hate crime, because there was no crime (just hate). And the officer likely did not intend to come off the way he did.

But I'm still in shock.  I pray that no officer ever tells a bullied teen that, "sometimes you just have to live with being a victim."  The officer made me feel foolish for being shocked and afraid.  I feel stupid and unjustified.  Our volunteers felt hurt, angered and confused.

I am so grateful for the excellent family of volunteers who came together tonight, supported eachother, worked through their emotions, and even made an astonishing number of phone bank calls.

I am sorry for anyone who has experienced hate or intimidation, and my heart goes out to anyone who has reported it and been made to feel stupid for reaching out for help. 


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  1. "But I'm still in shock. I pray that no officer ever tells a bullied teen that, "sometimes you just have to live with being a victim." The officer made me feel foolish for being shocked and afraid. I feel stupid and unjustified. Our volunteers felt hurt, angered and confused."

    What delicate flowers you all are. Tell the officer to go to hell. Stop _whimpering_, grow a spine, and get back to work.

    "Shock?" Please - this is an annoyance. You're an adult with options: suck it up and deal. To compare this with the plight of young people with restricted rights and no autonomy trapped in desperate situations is self indulgent trivialization of people with real problems.

    Posted by: Bryan | Oct 30, 2010 4:09:42 PM

  2. This WAS a crime:

    California Penal Code, Section 422: Any person who willfully threatens to commit a crime which will result in death or great bodily injury to another person, shall be punished by imprisonment in the county jail not to exceed one year, or by imprisonment in the state prison.

    Posted by: Johan | Oct 30, 2010 8:04:11 PM


    Posted by: Jim | Oct 31, 2010 1:41:10 AM

  4. The incident was 2 kinds of crimes. Vandalism & a hate crime, hanging a noose is a threat of violence. There are many documented cases of nooses being hung & being investigated as a hate crime.

    The local police need to be trained on sensitivity on glbt issues & understand that this is a hate crime. You can work with the state or local Human Relations (or Rights) Commission to make sure that the police receive proper sensitivity training.

    Hate crimes are considered to be a federal crime. So, the FBI needs to be called, they are the people that investigate hate crimes.

    There wasn't much the local police could have done. However, they should have taken evidence & dusted for fingerprints. Reports should be filed for reference in any future activity. There could also be similar activity happening nearby. You only find this out, if reports are made.

    And lastly in response to someone saying how could you possibly infer the message of telling someone to commit suicide, all you have to do is read the recent news. One of the youth had the same thing happend to him.

    Posted by: alleygrrrl | Oct 31, 2010 11:23:40 AM

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