Panel Releases Recommendations for DC Police on Treatment of LGBT Community

A 51-page report released by the Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force (HCATF) issued over two dozen ways the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) can better respond to bias-related crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.

Key recommendations in the report stressed the importance of the MPD building trust with transgender people, improving training for MPD officers, identifying leaders within the MPD who can help train officers, and reviewing cold cases of transgender murders. In addition to releasing the report, MPD Chief Cathy Lanier included the steps her office will take to implement the HCATF’s recommendations and notes “no one should fear being the victim of crime because of hatred and bias, whether because of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or other circumstances. Perhaps more importantly, everyone should feel comfortable working with the police and reporting crime and victimization to us.”

Read the full recommendations and report below along with Chief’s Lanier’s response:​

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NCTE was represented on the Task Force by Executive Director Mara Keisling and Director of Communications Vincent Paolo Villano.

Keisling said, “As members of the Task Force, we worked really hard to make sure everyone got to share their views on how we can get MPD and community advocates back on the same page. Our hate crimes experts looked at how MPD policies and practices stacked up against other cities. All of that informed our recommendations and we are eager to see Chief Lanier implement every single recommendation we put forward that she’s legally able to accept.”

The report comes amid increased concerns about the relationship between the MPD and DC’s LGBT community. Among the most pressing issues is the high rate of reported LGBT hate crime in the District compared to reported hate crimes based on race, religion, ethnicity, and disability. The report highlights several issues that directly impact the lives of transgender residents, including a general lack of police awareness of MPD’s policy related to transgender people, officer bias against transgender people, specifically transgender women of color, the loss of trust between the MPD within the transgender community, and the mishandling of cases resulting in cold leads.

The National Center for Transgender Equality served as a member of the HCATF with the Anti-Defamation League, the Human Rights Campaign, the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, and two of the nation’s leading academic experts on the causes and impact of hate violence, Professor Jack McDevitt of Northeastern University and Professor Jim Nolan of West Virginia University.

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