Ramsey investigates offensive police messages
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Metropolitan Police Department

GLAA on Public Safety

Ramsey investigates offensive police messages

Statement by GLAA Public Safety Chair Rick Rosendall
Wednesday, March 28, 2001

Below is a transcript of a voice mail message I received from Police Chief Charles Ramsey early Tuesday afternoon. Mark Thompson, chair of the NAACP-DC Police Task Force, received a similar call from Ramsey. Members of the Task Force, including GLAA, had expressed concerns to Ramsey about profiling (including specifically against transgenders) by DC police officers.

In addition to launching the audit of mobile data terminal emails that led to today's news story, Ramsey has met with Montgomery County Police Chief Charles Moose to discuss Montgomery County's data collection efforts on police stops, and has scheduled a briefing from Chuck Wechsler of the Police Executive Research Forum on other cities' experiences with such data gathering efforts, with the intent of launching an effective effort to determine the extent of the problem of profiling by District police. Ramsey has also alerted the Department of Justice to the disturbing emails, and is following up on the audit by ordering a more thorough examination of email records going back to March 2000 (which is how far back their records extend).

The first step towards solving a problem is getting public acknowledgment of it. Since we have had reports of police harassment, in particular from transgendered citizens, we are glad that an internal police investigation has brought evidence of the problem to light. We commend Chief Ramsey for his continuing efforts to reform the Department. It's a tough job to take on the entrenched police culture in which such bigotry is considered acceptable.

This is an example of the value of coalition work. We appreciate the efforts of our colleagues in the NAACP-DC Police Task Force, especially Mark Thompson of NAACP-DC, Ron Hampton of the National Black Police Association, and Steve Block of ACLU/NCA.

Rick Rosendall
GLAA Political VP and Public Safety Chair

Voicemail message to Rick Rosendall from MPD Chief Charles Ramsey
Tuesday, March 27, 2001
2:11 p.m.

"Rick, Chuck Ramsey calling. I'm calling to let you know about something that we have going on now. We did an audit of our mobile data terminals and we found traffic on there that indicates that we do have a problem both with profiling and also with officers' attitudes toward minorities, gays, you name it. So we've launched an investigation that's actually occurred last week into it, and I will talk to you later to give you more information but I just wanted to give you an alert and a heads up. I'll talk to you -- in fact it'll probably be in the media soon. I'll talk to you later."

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