The Sexist

Gay Man Arrested For Mocking Police Bigotry

Pepin Tuma, a 33-year-old gay man, was discussing the recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates with a few friends as they walked to Cobalt on July 26. At some point in the pre-bar jaunt, the Washington Blade reports, Tuma loudly condemned the alleged bigotry in the case in a sing-song voice: "I hate the police!" he declared. "I hate the police!"

A D.C. police officer, Tuma says, responded with some hate-speech of his own—and a swift arrest. Second District Officer J. Culp, Tuma says, "charged 40-50 feet" toward him, "pushed him against a transformer box," arrested him, then told him to "shut up, faggot."


Tuma's arrest, the Blade reports, is currently being investigated on the orders of D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Meanwhile, Culp may have picked the wrong group of gays to fuck with: Tuma and the two friends on the scene, Luke Platzer and Dave Stetson, are all attorneys. The exact reason for Tuma's arrest is still unclear. But while he initially agreed to pay a fine "as part of a 'post and forfeit' plea" which helped him avoid cell block time, he now says he intends to fight all charges in court:

[Tuma] said police took him to the Second District station at Connecticut and Idaho avenues, N.W., near the National Cathedral, where he was booked and released about four hours later. He said his release came after he agreed to pay a fine as part of a “post and forfeit” plea, which is an acknowledgement of possible guilt.

Tuma said he agreed to the post and forfeit plea after officers who processed his arrest told him he would be forced to remain in a holding cell before being presented before a magistrate in D.C. Superior Court had he pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He said he had a longstanding commitment that morning and did not want to miss it by having to appear in court. Tuma said he plans to exercise his right to withdraw the post and forfeit the plea at a later date and fully contest the charge in court.

Tuma's lawyer friends, too, are committed to fighting the charge:

D.C. attorney Luke Platzer, one of Tuma’s two friends to witness the arrest, said he and a second friend, attorney Dave Stetson, were approached by a D.C. police sergeant shortly after police drove Tuma to the station to process his arrest. Platzer said the sergeant, whose last name is Geer, told them he observed Tuma attempting to “resist” arrest in a disorderly way and asked them if they would give a statement confirming his observation.

“We said, ‘No, we did not see that at all,’” Platzer told the Blade. “We thought he was trying to trick us into saying that there was physical resistance by Pepin to the arrest. That is not true.”

  • Creativemeat

    Fag or not, why be an asshole and provoke?

  • paul

    Yeah people shouldnt be allowed to say they hate the police it should be illegal

  • JamesNYC

    Yeah he was being an asshole, but he's making a very important point and I hope this case gets more coverage. We supposedly have free speech in this country so long as it doesn't threaten or plan/incite illegal activity. Now these lawyers decided to engineer a situation that would test the limits of our free speech rights in a real world setting.

  • Steve Goodman

    While Tuma was certainly provoking the police, Officer Culp certainly overstepped his boundaries and abused his power. Remember officers: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me."

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  • http://www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html Mark Zamen

    From what I see here, this arrest was not at all justified. Tuma had every right to express his opinion of police, and the officer violated the man's First Amendment rights. I hope Tuma does persue this matter and contests all charges. This entire incldent is a disgrace to law enforcement in general and Culp in particular, and is yet another reminder that a large segment of society still regards gay men and women as second-class citizens - or worse. That is the salient point of my recently released biographical novel, Broken Saint. It is based on my forty-year friendship with a gay man, and chronicles his internal and external struggles as he battles for acceptance (of himself and by others). More information on the book is available at http://www.eloquentbooks.com/BrokenSaint.html.

    Mark Zamen, author

  • hey

    Eventhough, I am gay I feel that Tuma was acting inappropriately and offensively towards the arresting officer. If the officer was 50 ft away, Mr. Tuma must have been very loud and obnoxious. Sounds like Tuma was trying to incite a ruckus. Just because he is Gay and an attorney does not give him special priviledges. If anything the officer should be reprimanded but not fired.

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  • Doug in Mount Vernon

    Being silly or stupid, as Tuma may have been, does NOT requier an arrest.

    Sorry, this one goes against the officer.

  • Jeff, Washington, DC

    Apparently law enforcement officers need to be protected under new hate crime legislation too.

    Whether the arresting officer will be diciplined will come out in the wash, but shame on Mr. Tuma for antagonizing the officers. Their lives are on the line for us daily, and shouting attacks from across a street does indeed disturb the peace and is indeed disorderly.

  • isa

    Mr Tuma may have behaved inappropriately, but I'm not sure hurting a cop's feelings is an arrestable offense.

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