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Atlanta Police Department Refuses To Adequately Investigate Anti-Gay Hate Crime Caught On Video

Atlanta

More than five years after the Atlanta Eagle raid, the Atlanta Police Department continues to fall short when it comes to protecting and serving the city's LGBT community. 

According to a report from the Georgia Voice, the department has refused to adequately investigate a recent anti-gay hate crime, which police have been unable to solve despite ample evidence including video of the suspect and the identity of his accomplice. 

A gay couple was walking down a midtown Atlanta street holding hands in March when a motorist began honking his horn at them. The passenger then jumped out of the vehicle and yelled a homophobic slur before attacking the couple. The suspect punched one of the victims in the head and shoved him into the street, where another motorist had to swerve to avoid hitting him. The suspect then got back into the vehicle, and the driver sped off. 

The entire attack was captured on surveillance video (screen grab above), and the victims obtained video of the suspect as well as the license plate number of the vehicle. However, the driver of the vehicle reportedly told police he didn't know his passenger, and detectives haven't bothered to obtain the driver's cell phone records — or, for that matter, to publicize the crime in any way until the Georgia Voice began looking into the matter in December.  

The Voice reports that the couple has requested anonymity and the story identifies the victim's boyfriend as "the witness":

“We were told they [police] talked to the guy and they said he doesn’t know the passenger, and that he picked the guy up on one block and dropped him off on another,” the witness says. “It’s crazy to me saying, ‘I don’t know the passenger in my car who beat up that guy.’ It’s just crazy, I don’t believe it.”

The couple asked the APD investigator to subpoena the driver’s phone records.

“There has to be a record of the passenger on there,” the witness says. “They said that was the end of it and they couldn’t do anything else. They weren’t able to get a subpoena." ... 

“I was disappointed that the investigation ended with one conversation and that’s the best they can do. I think they can do better than that, and I would encourage them to do better than that,” the witness says. “I’m not laying a lot of blame on the police department but I’m also not giving them any awards.”

The witness is being generous here. If this had been a black couple and the suspect yelled the N-word, there would undoubtedly be protests in response to the police department's apparent indifference. 

The Georgia Voice's story also reveals that APD hasn't been following its Standard Operating Procedures that require the department to report anti-gay hate crimes to the LGBT liaison unit. Only half of the 12 anti-gay hate crimes in 2014 were properly reported to the LGBT liaison unit. 

The APD's raid of the Atlanta Eagle in 2009 led to a $1 million settlement with patrons, the firing of six officers and various LGBT-related reforms in the department. But apparently there's still work to do. 

Watch surveillance video of the attack, as well as video of the suspect getting back in the vehicle, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading " Atlanta Police Department Refuses To Adequately Investigate Anti-Gay Hate Crime Caught On Video" »


San Francisco LGBT Groups Protest String Of Police Abuse Cases By Blocking Streets In Castro

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Close to 200 people, many from the LGBT community, blocked streets in and around San Francisco's Castro district on Christmas Eve morning, with a protest rallying against what they described as systemic police violence toward minorities reports SFGateThe demonstration is just one of numerous rallies around the country protesting the deaths of unarmed black men Mike Brown and Eric Garner, amongst many others, at the hands of police. Janetta Johnson, the program director for a transgender justice project in San Francisco, was one of the 200 protesters.

Screen Shot 2014-12-26 at 4.24.04 PMSaid Johnson:

"We want to stand in solidarity and say the killings have to stop. There’s a lot of fear of police — especially by black people and brown people."

Wednesday's group amassed at Market Street and Octavia Boulevard, blocking the Highway 101 ramps temporarily before marching down Market. Organizers chose to rally on the morning before Christmas to disrupt shopping, saying it was "No time for a celebration." Officers from the California Highway Patrol and the San Francisco Police Department stood by while some in the group placed a large pink triangle in the middle of the intersection at Market and Octavia; a sign next to the symbol read, "Silence = Violence."

Thea Matthews, a student and activist leader at City College of San Francisco, described the purpose of the black-LGBT intersectional march. 

Said Matthews:

"Today, we march, proclaiming our demands for police accountability, transparency and an end to institutional racism. In order to truly have all lives, especially black lives, matter, we must unite all oppressed communities who face police repression and violence."

San Francisco Police spoke with protest organizers at the beginning of the rally to find out what their plans were at the rally. S.F. Police then proceeded to help direct traffic around the protest. The protest ended around 10 a.m. at Market and Castro, with marchers singing and holding hands. 


New Evidence Leads To Arrest In 25-Year-Old Murder Case Of Transgender Woman

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 3.23.38 PMSanta Ana Police made new ground in the 25-year-old murder case of transgender woman Carla Leigh Salazar after DNA evidence led to a new suspect reports The AdvocateSanta Ana police arrested 63-year-old Douglas Gutridge, an acquaintance of Salazar, on Dec. 9 and charged him with Salazar's murder. in June 1989, Salazar, then 35 years old, was stabbed to death in her Santa Ana, Calif. home and the case soon went cold.

Thanks to further advances in technology, new DNA evidence was uncovered linking Gutridge to the murder. Police contacted Gutridge 18 years after the murder and Gutridge volunteered a DNA sample in 2009. However, the evidence alone was not enough to detain him. Five years later, advances in forensics place Gutridge inside Salazar's apartment at the time of the murder and show the placement of his hands on the victim's body. The new Orange County Cold Case Homicide Task Force was established in July to address the area's more than 1,000 cold cases with Salazar's case listed at the top of the task force's list; it's the team's first arrest. Salazar's friends and family never expected to see Salazar's murder solved, including friend Christine McFadden.

Said McFadden:

"She deserved justice, she didn't deserve to die. She was the total essence of love and compassion and friendship. She didn't have a mean bone in her body ... When I got that call from detectives, hope came into my heart. But I won't be completely at peace until he's put away."

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 3.23.14 PMPolice are currently holding Gutridge on $1 million bail and faces a maximum of 25 years to life in state prison. Gutridge's arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 2. Salazar's former husband, Robert Dougherty, expressed relief in Gutridge's arrest.

Said Dougherty:

"It's a relief. I want other families to be able to feel that too."


Montana Teen Arrives Home To Find Anti-gay Slur Spray Painted On His Door

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A bisexual Montana teen found a gay slur spray painted on his trailer door after spending the night at a friend's house reports Billings Gazette18-year-old Cain Stacy arrived home in the early hours of the morning to find the slur "fag," still wet, painted on the front door of his trailer. Stacy is not so much upset about being called the slur, but is moreso upset that someone had the nerve to deface his family's property with it.

Stacy's mother, Hiedi Hanna, lives next door and owns both properties. Hanna and Stacy reported the incident with police, but both are disappointed with how the case is being handled. Stacy informed the police of a potential suspect, but Billings Police Department Lt. Kevin Iffland said the suspect denied any involvement and consented to a search that yielded no evidence of their involvement. Iffland said the crime is classified as a criminal mischief with a bias motivation noted against bisexuals; the case is currently closed because police ran out of leads in the case however, should the department receive tips or other news about the case, then they will reopen it.

Until then, Stacy is stuck with the slur on his door; it's currently too cold to apply a fresh coat of paint to the door because it won't stick. For the time being Stacy is covering the slur with a plastic bag. "I just want it off my damn door," Stacy said. 

The Montana Board of Crime Control finds that overall hate crimes are decreasing over the last few years although there are occasional spikes; in the year of 2006, Montana saw a high of 154 reported hate crimes, while the last two years have only seen between 40-50 reported hate crimes. Out of 49 reported hate crimes in 2012, only 12 of them involved sexual orientation biases.


Indiana Anti-Gay Church Pastor Accused of Grabbing Man's Genitals, Soliciting Oral Sex: VIDEO

Pastor

Gaylard Williams, the pastor at the Praise Cathedral Church of God in Seymour, Indiana, has been accused of making sexual advances on a man and been charged with battery, reports WLKY.com.

Williams (59) appeared at the Jackson County Superior Court on Tuesday.

According to court documents, the pastor approached a 27-year-old man at his vehicle parked at a lake, grabbed and squeezed his genitals and requested that he perform oral sex.

Williams allegedly left the scene after the victim acted like he was reaching for a gun. Police later found gay pornography in the pastor’s car.

According to 'Church of God' beliefs, homosexuality is a sin, also, "We will engage in those activities which glorify God in our body and which avoid the fulfillment of the lust of the flesh." And of course, marriage is between a man and a woman.

Watch WLKY's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Appeals Court Denies Gender Reassignment For Trans Prisoner: VIDEO

  Michelle Kosilek

The full First Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed a ruling that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts must provide an incarcerated transgender woman with medically-necessary gender reassignment surgery, reports Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).

The Court of Appeals issued an initial ruling in January upholding an earlier finding that the Massachusetts Department of Corrections (DOC) engaged in a pattern of “pretense, pretext and prevarication” to deny Michelle Kosilek (above) treatment against the recommendations of multiple doctors, including those hired by the DOC itself. Born Robert Kosilek, Michelle Kosilek is serving a life sentence for the murder of her wife Cheryl (below, right) in 1990.

Cheryl KosilekThe latest decision was divided with a 3-2 majority and two sharply worded dissents.

Predicting that the case will not stand the test of time, Judge Thompson wrote:

“I am confident that I would not need to pen this dissent, over twenty years after Kosilek’s quest for constitutionally adequate medical care began, were she not seeking a treatment that many see as strange or immoral. Prejudice and fear of the unfamiliar have undoubtedly played a role in this matter’s protraction.”

Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLAD, said:

“I am appalled by this decision, which means that Michelle Kosilek will continue to be denied the life-saving medical care she needs and has been seeking for years.  

"It is difficult or impossible to imagine a decision like this one – that second-guesses every factual determination made by the trial court – in the context of any other prisoner health care case.  

"This decision is a testament to how much work remains to be done to get transgender people’s health care needs on par with others in the general public.

“There is no scientific or medical basis for denying transgender people their health care needs. The consensus position of the medical community is that surgery may sometimes be essential treatment.”

Watch a report on a television interview with Kosilek, AFTER THE JUMP...

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