D.C. police are searching for suspects in a string of suspected anti-gay hate crimes that have the Capital’s gay community on edge.
On Sunday during Memorial Day weekend, a suspect called two men anti-gay slurs and punched one of them in the face. The attack happened at around 6:28 p.m. on 14th Street and Rhode Island Avenue in Northwest D.C.
A week before on May 20, police say a group of men repeatedly kicked a man after pushing him to the ground and calling him a homophobic slurs at Sherman Avenue and Harvard Street, NW.
The worst anti-gay attack happened to two gay men on U Street and was captured on cellphone video in mid-April. Several people were seen pushing, punching and kicking the victims. The attack caused one of the victims to be knocked out while the other broke his nose. The three attackers then ran off before two Good Samaritans come to the aid of the man who was unconscious.
Police have not made arrests in any of those attacks, but both Capital Pride organizers and D.C. police say safety is a top priority for next weekend’s Capital Pride Festival.
“We want to make sure that everyone knows that you can come and there will be safety measures that will be taken care of for you and for everybody who is going to be there,” said Ashley Smith, president of the Capital Pride Alliance. “We want you to be there because this for a lot of people is their very first time coming to a Pride situation in any city and this is something that they may be fearful of being able to come out and this is their way of coming out. So we really do want you to be able to come and have an enjoyable time, a safe time while we are all there celebrating the elements of us.”
“What we want to do is to ensure people that we are investigating thoroughly, that we are leaving no stone unturned and that we are just imploring anyone that has any information surrounding any of these crimes that are committed, but especially these bias-related crimes, to come forward,” said D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson.
There has been a 67 percent increase in hate crimes between 2016 and 2017 in the District along with a 40 percent increase in hate crimes based on sexual orientation.
DC Police say they do not believe the three recent suspected anti-gay attacks are connected.
All suspects being sought are described as being African american males between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.
Yesterday Lou Chibbaro Jr. reported for the Washington Blade that organizers of D.C.’s annual Capital Pride Parade and Festival had demanded and received the resignation of Bryan Pruitt a volunteer event producer because of comments he made about transgender people in a May 2016 articlein the conservative blog RedState.
But the real story buried in the article is that the group No Justice, No Pride is making demands of the Capital Pride Alliance including the ban police officers from marching and participating in this years festivities
Drew Ambrogi, a spokesperson for No Justice No Pride said that Pruitt’s dismissal is just the beginning of a wave of change that will soon sweep Capital Pride. The community is paying attention and recognizing that for too long, Capital Pride has colluded with the very forces that oppress queer and trans individuals. Their willingness to ignore transphobia, accept money from corporations that profit from the incarceration of queer and trans people — predominantly queer and trans people of color — and celebrate the Metropolitan Police Department, indicate a fundamental disregard for large swaths of our community.”
Ambrogi said the coalition, among other things, is calling on Capital Pride to dis-invite D.C. police, including the police LGBT Liaison Unit, from participating in the D.C. Pride parade and festival. He said the coalition also wants Capital Pride to no longer allow corporate sponsors or corporations in general to participate in the festival and parade and wants Capital Pride to remove its funds from a Wells Fargo Bank and remove from the Capital Pride board one of its members who is a Wells Fargo employee.
Bernie Delia, Capital Pride’s president, said that although Capital Pride’s board agreed it was necessary to seek Pruitt’s resignation it would “absolutely not” agree to additional demands by the No Justice No Pride coalition that it ban D.C. police from participating in this year’s Pride parade and festival and that it ban corporate sponsors, including Wells Fargo Bank, from participating in all Pride events.
“It has been with the support and resources of our diverse sponsors and corporate partners that Capital Pride has been able to grow and thrive,” said Delia, who added that corporate supporters have strong records of support for the LGBT community and LGBT rights.
Angela Peoples who now runs the former LGBT Equality group GetEQUAL stated that her group fully supports the efforts and positions taken by No Justice No Pride.
“I have been working with Drew and other folks that are organizing this effort,” Peoples said. “So the effort and the demands of the No Justice No Pride effort is very much aligned with the work Get Equal has been doing and is continuing to do,” she said.
Peoples who changed GetEqual from an LGBT civil rights group to a QPOC (Queer People of Color) action group is responsible for the planning and carrying outof transgender activists Jennicet Gutiérrez’s heckling of President Obama at the LGBT Pride Month Reception at the White House in 2015 and other protests such as disruptions at Netroots Nation and who’s members also were involved in a near-violent protest shut down a planned reception for LGBT Israeli group A Wider Bridge.
Folks involved in No Justice, No Pride have many reasons for being involved in this, and some easy demands backed by these reasons are but not exclusive to the following: 1. Removing Corporate Sponsorship (and other entities that hurt members of our community such as military defense contractors and others involved in the military industrial complex, the border injustice complex, and the criminal injustice complex. This means no FBI and Border Control recruiters) 2. Removing Policing Presence/Entities 3. Returning Pride as Protest 4. Remove problematic people from leadership and replace them with known leaders from historically marginalized communities.
We will make these demands known and follow up with “since our community is so large and vast that we also stand behind any demands others may have.”
We won’t accept promises for concessions in future years and will make our case loud and clear that things need to change this year or we will demonstrate.
Let’s show up to this meeting in full support of one another. When you hear something you like make some noise! Snap, clap, cheer – let’s show them we’re riled up and we’ve got each other’s backs. And then they try to silence us, dismiss our claims or make half-assed concessions, let’s be loud too.
Because of these demands and Angela Peoples involvement expect some real drama at this years
As many SJW activist like to say “The first Pride was a riot.”
Yes it was. But it was against our true enemies not our own people.