GLBT Activists Meet With Fenty on Hate Crimes
Today, Mayor Adrian Fenty took a break from his pre-inaugural planning blitz to meet with the co-chairs of GLOV (Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence), Chris Farris and Todd Metrokin about what GLOV says is a crises-point in hate-bias related crimes against the gay community. Fenty and GLOV were joined by Police Chief Cathy Lanier and MPD Gay and Lesbian Liason Unit Sergeant Brett Parson. Farris and Metrokin had been petitioning for a meeting with the mayor for months, tapping allies in the D.C. Council, making calls to the Mayor's office, and organizing an extended letter-writing campaign. They finally got their audience today GLOV's report of the meeting is after the jump.
January 16, 2009 — Mayor Fenty and Police Chief Lanier met with Chris Farris and Todd Metrokin, Co-Chairs of GLOV (Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence), along with Sgt. Brett Parson to discuss solutions to the problem of anti-GLBT violence in DC. Several points from the list of recommendations made to Mayor Fenty and Chief Lanier (see below) recieved immediate commitments.
The most notable commitment was the Mayor's agreement to comply with existing DC law requiring him to submit an annual hate crimes report to the the City Council Equally important, the Mayor agreed that measurable goals should be set to reduce ant-GLBT harassment in the DCPublic School system and to revisit previous proposals by SMYAL (the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League) on the subject. Both Mayor Fenty and Chief Lanier agreed to facilitate a meeting between GLOV and the new U.S. Attorney for DC, once that person is appointed, to discuss grievances regarding case management and policies.
"Mayor Fenty opened the meeting with a request for actionable suggestions on how the DC government could address the issue," said Farris, "but would not commit to making a public statement acknowledging and condemning the violence, although we pressed hard for that. To his credit, however, he invited us to continue to send concrete requests his adminstration can act on to him directly. Working with the police, prosecutors, the GLBT community, the schools, and our allies, most notably those who serve on DC's Anti-Bias Task Force, GLOV intends to act on the Mayor's invitation."
Chief Lanier was very receptive to GLOV's recommendations for her Department, offering to share the current mandatory online hate crimes training curriculum as well as sharing her innovative plan to expand the GLLU program by maintaining the central GLUU office but allowing gay and lesbian officers to serve as liasons within their own precincts, thus increasing the potential number of officers recognized under the GLLU while integrated throughout the MPD.
"I feel that Chief Lanier understands the issue and is truly interested in improving the performance of the MPD." said Metrokin. "And we assured both her and the Mayor that we are also doing our part
by re-educating our community on safety issues and encouraging reporting."
"The Chief has demonstrated in the past that she is a partner in our efforts to reduce anti-GLBT hate crimes, and today she re-confirmed that partnership," said Farris. "We are hopeful that today's meeting
with the Mayor is the beginning of an equally productive partnership."
GLOV offered Mayor Fenty the following recommendations to address anti-GLBT crime:
I. a strong public statement that recognizes the issue of anti-GBLT hate crimes in DC, condemns that violence in the harshest terms, and pledges all necessary city resources to fight it.
II. Compliance with existing law in submitting an annual report on hate crimes to the City Council
III. The following immediate commitments from the MPD:
a. Hate Crimes training for the entire police force, especially on reporting
b. Sensitivity training when dealing with GLBT victims
c. Staffing of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) to the level it was at the beginning of the Fenty Administration
IV. Support for the following:
a. Meeting with Chancellor Rhee of DCPS
b. Meeting with DCAG
c. Meeting with the newly-appointed United States Attorney for DC upon appointment
d. Faith communities outreach
V. For DCPS – measurable goals for decreasing incidents of anti-GLBT harassment and support for student awareness campaigns
VI. Publicly support the establishment of a Panel to address hate crimes against the GLBT community in DC with the mission of outlining the problem and recommending actions and solutions to address it. Panel should be on a short timeline and include, at a minimum, representatives from the following: the GLBT community, the Mayor's office, the MPD, the USAO (if possible), the AG's office, DCPS, and faith communities. The recommendations of the Panel should be made public.