Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Five D.C. Lesbians Attacked, But Police Refuse to File Report

Washington, D.C. – When five D.C. lesbians were attacked outside the Columbia Heights Metro Station, they thought they could count on the police to protect them.  They were wrong.  On July 30, according to the Washington Blade, five lesbians were brutally assaulted at 3 a.m. outside the metro stop by two men who attacked them while shouting expletives because of their perceived sexual orientation. A third man accompanying the attackers used a cell phone to record the assault.  Yazzmen Morse, 21, who was pummeled in the face by the attackers, told the Blade that her assailants were yelling “dykes,” “bitches,” and other slurs at her and her companions.  A bystander placed a 911 emergency call to report the attack, and four police cruisers from the Third District Police Department station with “six or seven” officers responded.  The women were hurt, scared, and frantic to have the Metro police protect them and arrest their attackers.  Instead, the officers refused even to take a report, chiding the lesbians for “not knowing how to act,” and released the one assailant they had apprehended and restrained at the scene of the crime.  365 Gay reports Morse saying of the police,  “They let him go. And then they said they didn’t want to hear our stories.” Morse said she was horrified and angered that the police simply released her attacker, who smiled and taunted his lesbian victims as he walked away.  “He walked across the street laughing,” Morse told the Blade. “And I will never forget his face – he was just smiling. And we are five people who are in tears and he is just laughing at us.”  The second suspect had already fled the scene when the police arrived.  Their companion who took video of the assault continued to record even after the police arrived.  The video confiscated showed the attackers enjoying the mayhem they inflicted on the lesbians.

Responding to the charge that the lesbians “didn’t know how to act,” one of the victims who wishes to remain anonymous said to the Blade, “[The police] were telling us if you guys don’t calm down we’re going to lock you guys up. One officer said I’m not talking to you because you guys don’t know how to act,” she said. “And yes, we were panicking. Yes, we were crying. Yes, we were going off. But the fact is these men had just hit us.”  The anonymous victim also said the police offered no reason why they were not going to make a report of the assault.

D.C. LGBTQ activists and organizations unleashed a storm of protest over the actions of the Metropolitan Police.  In response, officials of the Department have assured the community that arrests will be forthcoming, and that as many as seven police officers may be disciplined (even terminated) because of their behavior.  The attack is now being classified as an anti-LGBT hate crime. The District has suffered a rash of attacks against lesbians and transgender women of color in recent months.  The last reported homicide of a transwoman of color took place just two week prior to the attack outside the Columbia Heights Metro Station.

August 8, 2011 - Posted by | African Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, gay bashing, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, transgender persons, Washington, D.C., women | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,



    Comment by Farlie Ham | August 8, 2011

  2. This is most reprehensible on the DC plice force. They should be tried and placed in prison for their in action. How can we trust any authority that will not protect us?

    Comment by Bill | August 8, 2011

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