Thursday, March 14, 2013

Around The Nation

Davis Police ID Suspect In Alleged Gay Bashing Incident
DAVIS, CA --  Davis police spokesman Lieutenant Glenn Glasgow confirmed Thursday that investigators have identified a suspect in a brutal attack that occurred over this past weekend against a gay city resident. Glasgow told LGBTQ Nation that a 911 call was received at about 3:50 a.m Sunday morning reporting a male had been attacked.  Police report that Mikey Partida, 32, was leaving a party when he was "violently attacked and beaten."
According to Glasgow, when police officers arrived "they found a male subject who had sustained moderate to major injuries and was unconscious." The victim was transported to the nearby University Of California Davis Medical Center.
In an interview from his hospital room, Partida told local media that he was leaving a relative's home early Sunday morning when a man started harassing him and calling him a homophobic epithet. Partida said he ignored the man and kept walking.
"I was just trying to make the right choice in a bad situation." 
Partida said that he had forgotten his keys and had to go back, that's when the suspect attacked. "I know it was unprovoked." Partida said, "He just continued, getting closer and closer, and then he just punched me." Partida emphasised that he heard the attacker using the slur – faggot - over and over again while beating him. "Pretty loud and proud about it," Partida said. "He just kept fighting me and fighting me until I blacked out. And then I came to and was here." 
Glasgow said,
"Based on statements from the residents, the Davis Police Department is investigating this incident as a possible hate crime," adding that, "because of the nature of the allegations we're not giving out as much information" in this case.  
We have identified a suspect in the alleged hate crime incident. Although we are not releasing the identity of the suspect, there could be criminal charges forthcoming at the conclusion of the investigation."
Glasgow also said that Davis police investigators are "still tracking down and interviewing witnesses."
Police Offer Reward to Find Suspect Accused of Beating Lesbian Mother
MESQUITE, TX -- Police Department in Mesquite, Texas, are offering a $5,000 reward for tips leading to the arrest of a suspect in an apparent hate crime where a man beat a lesbian mother unconscious when she stepped in to defend her four-year-old son, who was being bullied on a playground by the suspect's children.
Sondra Scarber, 27, told police investigators that she and her partner, Hillary Causey, 26, were watching their son at an elementary school playground on February 17, when Scarber says some children began shoving their son, Jaxon. When Scarber stepped in to intervene, the children's fathers got involved. 
Scarber had asked one of the other children who was bigger to leave Causey’s son alone when one of the other parents stepped in. The women told police officials that the man became angry when he realized that Scarber, who wears her hair short and dresses in nondescript baggy clothes, was female and that the couple are lesbians.
“When he walked up thinking it was father and mom with the kid, he wasn’t as angry,” said Causey, “But then when he figured out she [Scarber] was a female, he got like super pissed, and I don’t know why.”
Causey said the man punched and kicked Scarber repeatedly, hurling homophobic slurs at her while she lay on the ground, unconscious.
“He was like, ‘well if you think you’re a man… I’m going to treat you like a man,’” Causey said. “All she kept saying was, ‘I’m a female. I’m a female…’ She never even had time to take her hands out of pockets to try and block herself.”
The attack left Scarber with a shattered jaw that’s been wired shut, and a badly swollen and bruised face. 
Mesquite police spokesman Lt. Bill Hedgpeth said that investigators are not ruling out potential hate-crime charges, however, he pointed out any 'hate crime' enhancement is usually a determination of the District Attorney's office rather than in the initial charge.
Hedgpeth added that the department is determined to make an arrest in the case. 
"Someone with this propensity for violence is a danger to everyone in the community. This bad guy needs to be arrested so we can prosecute him and get him off the street," he said. 
Transgender Protections Bill Fails To Pass Senate Committee
ANNAPOLIS, MD --  A bill that would add protections for Transgender Marylanders prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment, or other public accommodations failed to pass in a 5-6 vote. The Senate Judicial Proceeding Committee heard testimony on the bill, The Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2013, [S.B. 449] earlier this month from over 40 proponents and about a dozen opponents.
The purpose of SB 449 is to define “Gender Identity” in the law as “A Gender-Related Identity, Appearance, Expression, or Behavior of an individual regardless of the individuals assigned sex at birth.”It prohibits anyone licensed or regulated by the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation in Section 2-108 of the Business Regulation Article from discriminating against a person or persons due to their “Gender Identity”. This is the same law that currently prohibits discrimination base on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, marital status, and sexual orientation.
Had the bill passed, the act would have made Maryland the 17th state to provide comprehensive gender identity protections.
Senator Richard Madaleno, a co-sponsor of the measure told a crowd of civil rights activist and leaders last month during a rally for the bill:
"We are on the verge of this last big victory in Maryland”. As you go and speak with your legislators this evening “know that it takes 24 votes to pass a bill in the state Senate, we have 23 sponsors on this legislation.”, Madaleno said. 
"This legislation came before the Maryland General Assembly 2 years ago, passed the House of Delegates, and went to the Senate floor in the final hours of the Session and did not survive. I am very confident we have the votes in the Senate, if we could just get the bill to the floor”, Madaleno stated.
In an e-mail to LGBTQ Nation Thursday afternoon after the vote, Equality Maryland’s Executive Director Carrie Evans said;
“It is terribly disappointing the committee failed to stand up for fairness and protect transgender Marylanders.
In the past month more than 300 people visited their legislators in support of this bill. Additionally, more than 400 constituents called their senators on this committee and almost 2,000 constituent letters, petitions and postcards in support of SB 449 were given to the 11 members of the committee.  
We are particularly incensed with Senator Jim Brochin’s vote. He had at least 1,000 constituents contact him asking him to support this bill. Despite this, he turned his back on these voters. It ironic that transgender people in his own district [Baltimore County] have protections yet he wouldn't cast a vote to extend these protections to individuals in the 20 counties that aren't  so fortunate.” 
Evans added; 
“This is not over. Equality Maryland will come back every year until  transgender Marylanders are afforded the right to  be free from discrimination in their jobs, homes, and places of public accommodations. “