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Madonna Visits Ultra Music Festival: VIDEO

MadonnaUltra

Madonna took a break last night from sparring with Russian homophobes to put in an apparently spontaneous appearance at Miami's Ultra Music Festival. She looked fantastic. She did no singing. She swore her lifelong fealty to electronic music and asked if everyone present had "seen Molly." (Madge's new album is called MDNA, and "Molly's" the street name for MDMA. Wit!) Then she introduced the DJ Avicii, and proceeded to dance to a remix of her own song. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

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Miami Beach Cops Accused in Beating of Gay Man Want Jobs Back

Back in February 2010, I posted about Miami Beach police harassing and arresting a gay man after he witnessed them abusing a suspect. The gay man, Harold Strickland (pictured), was on the phone with 911 reporting their assault when the cops came after him. The ACLU filed suit against the Miami Beach police last November.

Strickland In late July, the two officers involved were fired and in early August, the ACLU settled its case with the City of Miami Beach.

Now, the two officers want their jobs back, the Miami Herald reports:

Frankly Forte and Eliut Hazzi filed grievances last week with the city, demanding they be reinstated with back pay. "The investigation was unfair and tainted with bias from the outset," both men wrote in city documents filed Aug. 17-18.

The officers take issue with the victim's account:

Sgt. Alejandro Bello, president of the city's police union, said Strickland's story of what happened that night is full of holes. He said Mendoza's mug shot shows that he had no injuries to his face. He also questioned Strickland's story that he wanted to see his old home and Mendoza's statements that he was searching for his dog's missing collar after a quick walk. Bello also said Miami Beach politicians influenced the officers' firings and noted that both Strickland and Mendoza have been arrested near Flamingo Park in the past and accused of involvement in illegal sex acts.

Ex-Beach cops accused in 2009 beating seek jobs back [miami herald]


ACLU Settles Case with Miami Beach Police Over Assault on Gay Man

Back in February 2010, I posted about Miami Beach police harassing and arresting a gay man after he witnessed them abusing a suspect. The gay man, Harold Strickland (pictured), was on the phone with 911 reporting their assault when the cops came after him. The ACLU filed suit against the Miami Beach police last November.

Strickland Last week the two officers involved in the incident were fired.

Yesterday, the ACLU reported that they had settled their case:

The settlement reached today requires the City of Miami Beach to pay Harold Strickland $75,000 which includes attorneys’ fees, as well as enact new policies regarding the reporting of police misconduct. The city will also implement specific trainings for new police officers addressing the harassment of gay men by police in and around Flamingo Park, as well as the rights of citizens to document police behavior.

***

Among the changes mandated by today’s settlement is the inclusion of new training language for Miami Beach police officers, including the following: “Improperly prohibiting or punishing a citizen from observing, documenting, or reporting a police officer’s conduct violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

“The most important thing to me since that night has been that someone had to be held responsible for what was happening in the city that used to be my home,” stated Strickland. “It’s sad that it took someone going through what happened to me for the city to start taking this problem seriously, but I’m hopeful that after today’s settlement it will never happen to anyone again.”

Previously...
Miami Beach Police Accused of Assaulting Gay Man to Be Fired [tr]


Miami Beach Police Accused of Assaulting Gay Man to Be Fired

Back in February 2010, I posted about Miami Beach police harassing and arresting a gay man after he witnessed them abusing a suspect. The gay man, Harold Strickland (pictured), was on the phone with 911 reporting their assault when the cops came after him. The ACLU filed suit against the Miami Beach police last November.

Strickland Now, the Miami Herald reports that the two officers involved are being fired:

Officers Frankly Forte and Eliut Hazzi learned Monday of the city’s intent to kick them off the police force and were relieved of duty without pay, according to City Manager Jorge Gonzalez. He said a hearing in which the officers will have a chance to fight for their jobs has been scheduled for Aug. 1.

***

After a nearly year-long investigation, prosecutors also declined to press charges against Hazzi and Forte, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove the officers’ guilt to a jury. Instead, they suggested Miami Beach police take “appropriate action.”

Miami Beach police issued a statement Monday saying that although the “investigation concluded that no crime could be proven in relation to the officers’ actions, serious questions were raised about their conduct during the incident.”

While the criminal investigation is closed, the ACLU case is still on. Strickland is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.

Said ACLU spokesman Derek Newton of the firing: “It’s a very satisfying outcome, assuredly, to demonstrate clearly that officers who violate the public trust and engage in misconduct will be subject to consequences. We think that’s very positive and encouraging. We hope that it sets a standard for other communities in the region and state in addressing police misconduct.”


News: Mark Ruffalo, Dolphins, Miami Beach, FAA

 road Wendy's new "natural cut" french fries aren't all that natural.

Mark  road Mark Ruffalo on his acting hiatus: "I was losing my love for it. So I said, ‘I’m done.’ I fired everybody and moved my family out here (Callicoon, NY). I had to make a radical move. The Kids Are Alright was my swan song. I didn’t know what I was doing next."

 road Report: Madonna has traded in Kabbalah for membership in the Opus Dei?

 road Natalie Portman's body double in Black Swan continues to claim that she did the majority of the dancing in the film.

 road The highlight of today's third-annual Miami Beach Gay Pride festival was its parade of dozens of long-term gay couples.

 road Fired male BBC editor accused of sexually harassing male colleague.

 road Nicolas Cage is arrested on domestic violence charges.

 road Hollywood promises at least two more installments of the James Bond franchise.

Pinkdolphins  road Pink dolphins in the Amazon are rivals to some fisherman in Brazil: "The fishermen see them as nettlesome competitors for the catches that feed their families."

 road Rainbow flags celebrating Pride Week at the University of Maine have been stolen. Student Affairs rep: "I think some people haven't found their voice so perhaps to show their unhappiness, their confusion, to make a statement they say well this is the only way to do it."

 road The FAA to change air traffic controllers’ work schedule rules within 72 hours after another controller is caught asleep on the job.

 road GLAAD steps in to make the games at a minor league hockey team more gay-friendly.


Lady Gaga Impersonated by Evangelical Megachurch Worship Leader

Gaga_guess

Last weekend, a Lady Gaga impersonator whipped up a frenzy in Miami Beach while the real Gaga was celebrating her birthday in Vegas.

New York magazine posted a photo (above) sent out by the Guess boutique, which apparently couldn't tell the difference.

"It remains unclear if this alleged Lady Gaga went out looking like a normal American girl in an attempt to disguise herself and throw off her mobs of rabid fans, who, Guess says, were kept under control by five security guards while the store was shut down so that this normal-looking "Lady Gaga" could shop."

The NY Post's Page Six reported on the brouhaha:

The imposter rolled up to Big Pink restaurant with four SUVs and a security detail of 10. Once her security did a sweep, the blonde look-alike enjoyed breakfast. The poor man's Gaga then caused chaos at French Connection in South Beach, where, a spy said, "Salespeople flocked to assist her, even helping her try on clothes for 30 minutes. She was swarmed by fans screaming 'Happy Birthday!' " And Guess rep Alina Hauptman sent a breathless press release complete with a photo of faux Gaga at their Lincoln Road store, saying, "The crowd was getting so out of control that security needed to shut down the store so Lady Gaga could browse . . . [she] purchased the Lucy Lace Skirt."

My friend Bradley Carlson posted photos on Facebook of "Gaga" posing with fans at the Big Pink as her bodyguards looked on. Apparently she was telling everyone she was the real Gaga.

Fauxgaga3 Fauxgaga1

So who is she? 

The Miami New Times reveals that she is Amy N. Evans, a singer who has performed at the Evangelical Christian megachurch Calvary Chapel in Fort Lauderdale, and the security firm was conducting a "training exercise".

"The girl that we used really does draw attention. You guys saw that on Sunday," says Bill Ferrell, president of ASI Consultants & Associates. "But at no time ever, ever, ever have we tried to portray her as Lady Gaga."

But this isn't the first time that Evans has been mistaken for Gaga. When it happened at a mall last year in Palm Beach Gardens, ASI bodyguards allegedly told people that Evans was, in fact, Gaga.

At the time, Ferrell apologized for the confusion.

I'm sure the real Gaga would be interested in the fact that she is being impersonated by a Christian wingnut and worship leader at an Evangelical megachurch.

Watch Evans perform at Fort Lauderdale's Calvary Chapel, AFTER THE JUMP...

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