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Amnesty Int'l: alarming police abuse of LGBT community in U.S.

“The police are not here to serve; they are here to get served…every night I’m taken into an alley and given the choice between having sex or going to jail.”
— Amnesty International interview with a Native American transgender woman, Los Angeles

Several Blenders sent this one in; it’s the release of an Amnesty International’s report, Stonewalled: Police abuse and misconduct against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the U.S..

The findings are not news to a lot of people, especially gay folks living in hostile Red areas of the country. (via PageOneQ)

In the most comprehensive report of its kind to date, Amnesty International (AI) reveals that police mistreatment and abuse of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people is widespread throughout the USA and goes largely unchecked due to underreporting and unclear, under-enforced or non-existent policies and procedures.

“Across the country, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people endure the injustices of discrimination, entrapment and verbal abuse as well as brutal beatings and sexual assault at the hands of those responsible for protecting them ­ the police,” said Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA).

“Some, including transgender individuals, people of colour and the young suffer disproportionately, especially when poverty leaves them vulnerable to homelessness and exploitation and less likely to draw public outcry or official scrutiny.

“It is a sorry state of affairs when the police misuse their power to inflict suffering rather than prevent it,” he added.

…”Police officers are hired to protect and serve all of their communities, not only the ones they deem worthy,” said Michael Heflin, Director of Amnesty International USA’s OUTfront program, which focuses on LGBT human rights.

Some examples from the report:
* A Native American transgender woman reported that two Los Angeles police officers handcuffed her and took her to an alleyway. One officer reportedly hit her across the face, saying “you fucking whore, you fucking faggot,” then threw her down on the back of the patrol car, ripped off her miniskirt and her underwear and raped her, holding her down and grabbing her hair. The second officer is also alleged to have raped her. According to the woman, they threw her on the ground and said, “That’s what you deserve,” and left her there.

* Two lesbians of colour reported that two men in Brooklyn, NY, followed, harassed and threatened them, saying, “I’m going to kill you, bitch. You’re not a man….I’m gonna put you in your place.” The verbal abuse escalated to physical abuse; the two women called 911. When police were told this was a homophobic crime, the officers reportedly left without further investigating the incident or taking a complaint, telling the ambulance attendants responding to the women’s call to leave. One woman reportedly was bleeding from the head due to a blow from one of the men. Her companion stated, “It was ridiculous. There she was running down the street bleeding and chasing after the ambulance.”

* Young gay men and advocates in Chicago told Amnesty of a police officer who, according to one man, will “remove his badge, gun and belt and then beat you unless you give him a blowjob, after which he’ll just leave you there.”

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Pam Spaulding

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