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Law Enforcement Hub



04/19/2007


Justice Department Launches Nationwide Transgender Education Training for Police Stations

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an education program designed to help local police departments better understand and handle issues affecting transgender individuals.

Chicago Phoenix reports:

Tony west“It’s clear that such a training is as necessary as it is overdue,” Associate Attorney General Tony West said. “Because too often, in too many places, we know that transgender victims are discouraged from reporting hate crimes and hate violence due to their past negative interactions with and perceptions of law enforcement.”

The program will be overseen by the Justice Department’s Community Relations Service, which works to prevent and respond to hate crimes. Lesson plans include suggestions for addressing school bullying, and lists of do’s and don’ts, with don’ts including using terms like “transvestite” and asking whether a transgender person has had “sex reassignment” or “sex change” surgery.

Harper Jean Tobin, who as policy director at the National Center for Transgender Equality helped design the program, said it was an important first step in improving how the nation's police departments address hate crimes against trans people. However, she said more work is needed in order to truly fix the problems between transgener individuals and law enforcement. 

"You can't train your way out of this problem. It's one piece of the puzzle. It's one tool that we can use," she said.


Utah Sheriffs Rally, 'Call for an Uprising' Against Gay Marriage: VIDEO

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The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers, Association, a coalition of anti-gay sheriffs and homophobic conservative supporters, held a rally on Saturday billed as a "call for an uprising" against same-sex marriage in Utah, FOX13 reports.

Said Former Graham County, Ariz., Sheriff Richard Mack (above):

“The people of Utah have rights, too, not just the homosexuals. The homosexuals are shoving their agenda down our throats...That’s a lie. That’s an absolute lie [that the federal government's ruling overrules Utah's laws]. We have a right to raise our kids without homosexuals being part of the Boy Scouts, the schools and teachers and doing everything. They can be all that, but don’t shove your agenda down my kid’s throat. We have a right to raise our kids how we want not how you want."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Partner Of Slain Missouri Trooper Denied Survivor's Benefits

Glossip Engelhard

Because when you're in a 15-year committed relationship, you're just friends or something. The Missouri Supreme Court has been working on a case regarding whether Kelly Glossip is entitled to survivor's benefits from the death of his partner, Missouri State Highway Patrolman Capt. Dennis Engelhard who was killed. According to a report from Ozarks First, they reached a 5-2 decision that Glossip is not entitled to benefits. But it's not because they were gay; no, it was because they weren't married.

"Glossip was denied survivor benefits because he and the patrolman were not married, not because of his sexual orientation," the ruling document stated. "If Glossip and the patrolman had been of different sexes, Glossip would have still been denied benefits no matter how long or close their relationship had been. The result cannot be any different here simply because Glossip and the patrolman were of the same sex. The statute discriminates solely on the basis of marital status, not sexual orientation."

This astoundingly disingenuous ruling neglects to mention Missouri Statute 451.022 which states "A marriage between persons of the same sex will not be recognized for any purpose in this state even when valid where contracted," so Glossip's claim would still have been denied even if they had been legally married.


Columbia, SC Police Officers Defy Orders to March in Gay Pride Parade Over Religious Beliefs: VIDEO

Yesterday, we reported that Columbia, South Carolina city officials had overridden an order from the police chief instructing two officers to march in the Gay Pride parade.

SantiagoThe AP reported:

Santiago had ordered a lieutenant and sergeant to join eight other officers in last Saturday's parade even though they cited religious beliefs in their opposition. On the day of the parade, City Manager Teresa Wilson and her assistant met with Santiago and reached an agreement to make participation in the parade voluntary since there were then enough officers to march.

The police chief is speaking out now, saying that it sets a very bad precedent.

"An officer cannot choose their assignments based on their religious beliefs. When you have a police department that really values strict discipline and adherence and obedience to directives, the Chief of Police is the person they look toward for that direction. Any department that expects to instill public trust, must demonstrate that by being visible to the public."

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott agrees:

"A chief or sheriff has to be able to make the decisions, a person that works underneath him are not going to respect them if they don't have the ability to make decisions, and I think that's a problem with the Columbia Police Department, not just now but for many many years/"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Gay Florida Teen Charged with Felony Over Girlfriend Accepts Plea Deal in Controversial Case

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In February, 18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt was arrested and charged with two felony counts of lewd and lascivious battery for entering into a consenual relationship with a fellow classmate who was 14.  

Although a judge ruled that Hunt could stay in school as long as she didn't contact the other girl, the 14-year-old's family pressured the school board and succeeded in having Hunt expelled.  As we reported at the time, Hunt's parents told The Examiner that the family of their daughter's girlfriend had targeted Hunt because they never approved of their daughter dating another girl:

"They are out to destroy my daughter, because they feel like she 'made' their daughter gay. They see being gay as wrong and they blame my daughter. Of course, I see it 100% differently. I don’t see or label these girls as gay. They are teenagers in high school experimenting with their sexuality – with mutual consent. And even if their daughter is gay, who cares? She is still their daughter."

This August, Hunt was arrested again, after prosecuters withdrew a plea deal that would have allowed her to stay out of jail, alleging that Hunt had been in communication with her mother, who had encouraged her to delete texts that could be used against her.

Today, however, CNN reports that Hunt pleaded no contest to the charges as part of a deal between her lawyers and prosecutors:

Hunt pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor battery, misdemeanor contributing to the dependency of a child and two counts of felony interference with child custody.

Hunt has been in jail since August 20 for violating a court order not to contact the alleged victim.

Under the terms of the agreement, Hunt will be sentenced to four months in jail, to be followed by two years of house arrest with electronic monitoring, and nine months of monitored probation after that, according to prosecutor Brian Workman.

If she has no violations, she will not be a convicted felon under Florida law, and she will have the possibility of sealing her file and having the case expunged after 10 years, he said.

Hunt has been in jail since August 20.


Greenwich Village Street to Be Renamed for Brave Gay Cop Who Came Out of the Closet in 1981

Clipping

A New York Community Board is expected to vote to rename a block in Greenwich Village - Washington Place, between Grove St. and 6th Ave - after Sergeant Charles H. Cochrane, who came out of the closet in a City Council meeting in 1981 when he testified in support of a gay rights bill, the NY Daily News reports.

Cochrane"I am very proud of being a New York City policeman,” Cochrane said. “And I’m equally proud of being gay."

A 14-year veteran assigned to the Manhattan South Task Force, Cochrane testified that gays were “not cruel, wicked, cursed, sick or possessed by demons.”

Cochrane had testified moments after a police official claimed he knew no gay cops.

Cochrane's coming out inspired the formation of Gay Officers Action League, or GOAL. The street to be honored was chosen because it's the home of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, where GOAL meetings were held, the paper adds, and was also the target of bomb threats after Cochrane came out.

Cochrane died of cancer in 2008, at age 68. His sister has promised to come to NYC from her home in Illinois for the street-naming ceremony.


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