Posted by | October 30, 2010 01:51 | Filed under: Contributors News Behaving Badly Opinion Sandi Behrns Top Stories

by Sandi Behrns

Mel Distel, a volunteer for Equality California, a nonprofit working for legal protection of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and the transgendered, arrived at the organization’s Orange County office Thursday evening to find a noose hanging from the door. That, in and of itself would be jarring enough, but Ms. Distel also had to deal with the Santa Ana police department.

Writing on EQCA’s Facebook page, Distel says the male officer said there was nothing the police could do without a suspect and that no crime had been committed. In fact, he said, “what it is, is a string on a door.” Distel, incredulous, asked if the officers did not see a correlation between the fact that this is a gay office and a noose was left on the door in the wake of  a spate of teen suicides. The officer’s unbelievable response?

“Sometimes you just have to live with being a victim.”

He then went on to say that he has had his own car broken into before; as if there is equivalency between a car break-in and a noose sending a message that gays should just go ahead and kill themselves. As the Liberal OC reports, under California law, a case could be made that this indeed constitutes a hate crime.

This evening, the Executive Director of Equality California, Geoff Kors, released a statement demanding that the Santa Ana Police Department investigate both the possible hate crime and the officers’ inadequate response.

This is an outrageous, despicable attempt to intimidate the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community just a few days before the election, but we will not be silenced. We will strengthen our fight to elect pro-equality candidates who champion full equality for our entire community and who shun anti-LGBT initiatives that foster discrimination and prejudice….

We urge all Orange County residents to join us in demanding that Santa Ana Chief of Police Paul Walters conduct a thorough investigation into what appears to be an atrocious hate crime, to investigate and discipline the officer in question and to ensure that all officers are properly trained on how to appropriately handle all bias-motivated crimes against LGBT community members moving forward.

The organization will be filing an official complaint with the police division. The story has received a good deal of attention state-wide, so here’s hoping Chief Walters swiftly takes action.

 

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Sandi Behrns

Sandi Behrns is a noted policy nerd, new media & web developer, and consultant to progressive organizations and campaigns. She is a senior contributor to Liberaland, and the Executive Editor of Progressive Congress News.