Streams

Task Force Created to Squash Anti-Gay Violence

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Amid a string of high-profile hate crimes in the city this month, the Brooklyn District Attorney's office has created a new task force to fight anti-gay violence.

The task force aims to facilitate the reporting of hate crimes against gays and lesbians with a new 24-hour hotline that hate crime victims can use to report incidents that they may not feel comfortable reporting to police.

“Often, biased crime victims are hesitant to come forward and report crimes against them. It is a scary and traumatic experience for them. They may not want to call 911 or walk into their local precinct,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said at a press conference announcing the task force. 

In addition, members of the gay and lesbian community can call the hotline to access services, such as connecting with social workers.

"Acts of violence against the LGBT community living and working in Brooklyn are not going to be tolerated," Hynes said. "They never have been tolerated by this office. It is not open season on members of that community.”

Denise Sandy, the mother of Michael Sandy, a gay man who died after being mugged and chased into traffic in 2006 hopes the hotline will encourage victims to seek help and “that they'll have a place to go to without having fear -- they’ll know that they'll be supported,” she said.

The Brooklyn DA's office is also holding a town hall meeting next month to get feedback from members of Brooklyn's gay community about safety concerns.

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Comments [1]

Long from Brooklyn

First off, lets not re-invent the wheel. These types of hotline services exist and are available to us now. The Anti-Violence Project (AVP) in NY and Communities United Against Violence (CUAV) in SF both have pretty phenomenal ones which provide survivors with resources including counseling and can walk a survivor through their legal options. Amidst the hundreds of cases of hate violence in central Brooklyn alone, how helpful is it to mimic a service that is already being effectively provided to the same community?

Now what the Brooklyn DA is creating does not seem to be a crisis hotline (as in you can call when you are in crisis) but rather a reporting hotline as a way to encourage survivors to report hate ‘crimes’ because as Hynes puts it, “Often, biased crime victims are hesitant to come forward and report crimes against them. It is a scary and traumatic experience for them. They may not want to call 911 or walk into their local precinct.”

But what is not examined here is WHY it is so scary to report hate violence to the police. Maybe because often the police are the homophobic and transphobic attackers we are trying to protect ourselves from, or because when they are called they don’t bother to show up, or maybe its because in stranger based hate violence the attacker is rarely prosecuted (not that I am advocating for prosecution) How is a reporting hotline addressing any of these issues of accountability with the NYPD?

Given the particularly negative experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Gender Non-Conforming people of color with the NYPD, this seems like a pre-emptive, hasty move to grab media attention. I would encourage the Brooklyn DA’s office to look into first holding NYPD accountable for the violence it commits against our community before asking for our community to call in our experiences.

Nov. 08 2010 10:51 AM

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