Councilmembers respond to anti-gay police incident
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MPD Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit

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Councilmembers respond to anti-gay police incident

Letters to Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey from:
David Catania (At-Large) 07/24/02
Carol Schwartz (At-Large) 07/30/02
Jim Graham (Ward 1, Human Rights Chair) 07/24/02
Jack Evans (Ward 2) 07/25/02
Kathy Patterson (Ward 3, Judiciary Chair) 07/24/02
Adrian Fenty (Ward 4) 07/26/02




David Catania
Councilmember, At-Large
Council of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

Office: 202) 724-7772
Fax: (202) 724-8087
dcatania@dccouncil.washington.dc.us

From: "Catania, David (COUNCIL)"
To: rick.rosendall@glaa.org, charles.ramsey@dc.gov
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 13:57:05 -0400

Dear Chief Ramsey:

I would very much appreciate being cc'ed on your response to Mr. Rosendall's email.

Warm regards,
David Catania


[Note: Chief Ramsey's email indicated that he was out of town on July 24, so Councilmember Catania immediately contacted Ramsey's chief of staff.]

From: "Catania, David (COUNCIL)"
To: rick.rosendall@glaa.org, william.ponton@dc.gov
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 13:59:48 -0400

Dear Commander Ponton:

I would appreciate a response to Mr. Rosendall's email by close of business today!

Warm regards,
David Catania



Carol Schwartz
Councilmember, At-Large
Council of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

Office: (202) 724-8105
Fax: (202) 724-8071
carol.schwartz@dc.gov

July 30, 2002

Chief Charles Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department
P.O. Box 1606
Washington, DC 20013-1606

Dear Chief Ramsey:

I was greatly distressed to read in the July 19 Washington Blade that a veteran police officer is under investigation for allegedly calling an openly gay rookie officer derogatory names and threatening the rookie officer with violence.

Washington is a greatly diverse city, and it is my firm belief that public safety agencies such as MPD are strengthened through increasing the diversity in their ranks. These agencies should be prepared to handle all situations that this diversity might create. Therefore, I would like to be kept apprised of the investigation into this matter and what any future actions may follow.

Thank you in advance for your response.

Sincerely,

Carol Schwartz
Councilmember At-Large

cc: Councilmember Kathy Patterson
Chair, Committee on the Judiciary

CS: ja


Jim Graham
Councilmember, Ward 1
Council of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

Office: (202) 724-8181
Fax: (202) 724-8109
jgraham@dccouncil.washington.dc.us

July 24, 2002

Chief Charles Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Chief Ramsey,

I am requesting that an investigation be conducted on the alleged misconduct of Master Patrol Hiram Rosario for uttering disparaging and homophobic remarks to a member of the Metropolitan Police Department. It has come to my attention that on June 13, 2002, in the Third District's roll call room, MPO Hiram Rosario shouted homophobic remarks, among threats and other insults, to Officer Scott Fike (Third District). Since it appears that MPO Rosario has violated the civil rights of a fellow officer, it is incumbent upon our Police Department to rectify such unprofessional and illegal behavior. I am enclosing with this request a copy of an email that my office has received on this matter. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Jim Graham
Councilmember, Ward 1

JG/ar



Jack Evans
Councilmember, Ward 2
Council of the District Of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

Office: (202) 724-8058
Fax: (202) 724-8023
jackevans@dccouncil.washington.dc.us

July 25, 2002

Charles H. Ramsey, Chief
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20004

Dear Chief Ramsey:

I was very disturbed to read the report in the Washington Blade of the allegations made by police Officer Scott Fike regarding the use of anti-gay language, and the threat of violence, by Master Patrol Officer Hiram Rosario. I have also received additional information about this matter from the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, who share my concerns.

There is no place in our police force, or in District government, for this type of behavior. It is, in fact, destructive to police and community relations. While my constituents and I have applauded the positive steps you have taken to help improve relations with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered community, most notably by creating the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, I would like to know, by the close of business this Friday, what steps you are taking to both investigate the matter of the allegations and to take swift steps to punish this behavior, including firing, if these events are confirmed. As there were other witnesses to this behavior, I believe you can conduct this review and act appropriately in a very short time frame. I believe your firm action on this matter is extremely important to maintaining the public's confidence in our police force.

Incidences such as these are also a good reminder of how important police sensitivity training is, not only for new recruits and transfers, but for veteran officers as well. You have been outstanding in your recognition of the importance of a diverse police force. I would like your response as to how we can implement sensitivity training for veteran officers as soon as possible. Clearly this is necessary as this incident apparently took place in the presence of other senior officers who did not act at the time of the incident. I have also received reports that other gay or lesbian officers of the force have been subject to anti-gay comments by fellow officers as well. Your decisive actions on both the immediate incident in question, and on the issue of veteran officer training, will help improve the environment for those officers as well.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this very important matter. I urge you to take swift and decisive action to resolve this matter and ensure the continued faith of District residents in our police force. No one, including police officers, is above the law. Additionally, at your earliest convenience, I would like to meet with you in my office, along with representatives of the GLBT community in my Ward, to discuss this and other continuing matters of concern related to the police force.

Sincerely,

Jack Evans
Councilmember - Ward 2

cc: Anthony Williams, Mayor
Members, Council of the District of Columbia
Margret Nedelkoff Kellems, Deputy Mayor Public Safety and Justice


Kathy Patterson
Councilmember, Ward 3
Council of the District Of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

Chairperson
Committee on the Judiciary

Office: 202-724-8062
Fax: 202-724-8118
kpatterson@dccouncil.washington.dc.us

June 24, 2002

Chief Charles Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Chief Ramsey:

Please find attached a letter I received from a constituent, Mr. Robert E. Gresham, raising concerns about the treatment of gay and lesbian members of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), as well as my response to Mr. Gresham. I hope that Mr. Gresham 's letter will help to inform your training of MPD officers in this area. I would also appreciate your considering the suggestions contained in the testimony of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance, also attached, with respect to the training of all sworn members of the MPD on the important issue of the professional treatment of minorities, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

Sincerely yours,

Kathy Patterson

Cc: Assistant Chief Shannon Cockett
Mr. Robert E. Gresham

Enclosure


Adrian M. Fenty
Councilmember, Ward 4
Council of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C. 20004

Office: (202) 724-8052
Fax: (202) 724-8120
afenty@dccouncil.washington.dc.us

July 26, 2002

Charles H. Ramsey
Chief of Police
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001-2106

Dear Chief Ramsey:

I am writing to you in response to an e-letter I received from Mr. Rick Rosendall, Public Safety Chair for the Gay And Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA). Mr. Rosendall attached to this letter an article from the Washington Blade, dated July 19, 2002. Accordingly, I have enclosed both the e-letter and the article with this letter.

Essentially, Mr. Rosendall and the article responded to a June 13, 2002, anti-gay incident, which occurred within the MPD. This situation allegedly involved Master Patrol Officer (MPO) Hiram Rosario and openly gay Officer Scott Fike. MPO Rosario allegedly hurled anti-gay slurs at Officer Pike. To say that I was not happy when I read of this incident would be the grossest of understatements.

While I am pleased to note that the MPD's Office of Professional Responsibility is currently investigating this matter, I would like to strongly urge that the MPD conduct a thorough investigation into not only this situation, but also into the culture within the MPD that seemingly tolerates such outrageous behavior. Moreover, given both of these issues, I would like to know why the MPD has delayed the initiation of sensitivity, training for both veteran officers and those officers who have been laterally transferred.

Many aspects of this alleged incident are disturbing, as pointed out by Mr. Rosendall, writing on behalf of GLAA and the gay community, and the Washington Blade article:

1) Should the investigation into this matter prove that MPO Rosario did, indeed, conduct himself in such an atrocious manner, I would like to know why no officers or sergeants on the scene of the incident responded appropriately. To me, this helps manifest an environment within the MPD that both condones anti-gay bigotry and treats it with impunity.

2) I would like to know why the MPD took no action five or six years ago, when MPO Rosario instigated a similar incident with then-Sergeant Alberto love, an openly gay member of the MPD who is now a lieutenant. At best, that was rank insubordination on the part ofMPO Rosario. At worst, this was an indicator of an attitude in need of adjustment.

3) I would like to know why MPO Rosario, who, by all reports, seems to have a track record of spewing anti-gay epithets, patrols a predominantly gay neighborhood in Dupont Circle. This illustrates a blatant example of insensitivity on the part of the MPD.

In closing, I would like to express my appreciation for the courage that 9ffice Fike has demonstrated in coming forward to repo-rt this; especially as I consider the environment in which he works. Additionally, I would like to stress that this type of behavior by any MPD officer at any time is not only unacceptable under any circumstance, it is illegal.

I look forward to hearing from you on this matter.

Sincerely,

Adrian M. Fenty
Councilmember, Ward 4

Enclosures

cc: Rick Rosenda1l, Public Safety Chair, Gay & Lesbian Activists Alliance
Lou Chibbaro, Jr., Washington Blade
Wanda Alston, Special Assistant to the Mayor for GLBT Affairs
Councilmember Jim Graham, Ward 1
Councilmember Jack Evans, Ward 2
Councilmember Kathy Patterson, Ward 3

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