District Of Columbia
Week Of Serious Violence Against Washington's LGBT Community
By Brody Levesque | WASHINGTON -- The last week of June has proven to have been a violent period for Washington's LGBT community. The Metropolitan Police Department, (MPD) reported six separate attacks, which included a fatal shooting, a beating, a stabbing, a sexual assault, and another two non life-threatening shootings. Police told LGBTQ Nation that with the exception of the beating, the attacks all occurred in the eastern quadrants of the city in Northeast and Southeast D.C.
The first victim was Bree Wallace, a 29 year old transgender woman, who survived, was attacked and stabbed multiple times in S.E. Washington in the early morning hours of Friday, June 21. The MPD announced last week that they had made an arrest charging 23-year-old Michael McBride of Southeast Washington with assault with intent to kill.
The next day, Saturday June 22, Malika Stover, 35, an openly out lesbian, was fatally shot in Southeast D.C. Investigators said that she died as the result of multiple gunshot wounds and that the motive appeared to be robbery.
The fatal shooting was followed by a beating assault on 24 year old Miles Denaro, a gay drag performer inside a pizzeria in Northwest Washington in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 23.
On Thursday, June 27, an unidentified transgender woman was shot in the buttocks in Northeast D. C. and according to the MPD investigators, the motive appeared to be robbery.
In two separate incidents about an hour apart in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 29, a transgender woman was sexually assaulted by an unidentified male after accepting a ride in the suspect’s car in N.E. with MPD officals describing the incident as a first-degree sexual assault. This was followed by another transgender woman attacked in a shooting, also in Northeast. MPD reported that the victim was shot and sustained non-life-threatening injuries in what investigators describe as another robbery attempt. Police declined to publicly identify the two victims.
Community leaders and activists held a meeting Friday, June 28, at the D.C. LGBT Center prior to the last two incidents. Hassan Naveed, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) told a local alternative LGBT community paper;
“It’s been a series of horrible incidents in the past few weeks in terms of what’s going on against the transgender community,” said Naveed, “And tonight we really built momentum to combat the hate violence in this city. We can see the energy in the community and people really coming together to discuss these issues and acting on this."
Because four of the victims were transgender, Naveed stressed that generating publicity about such crimes is important.
“People see transgendered as a target,” he said. “People will attack certain people because they perceive them as being weak. We want people to realize that it is happening.”
Also in attendance at the meeting was MPD Captain Edward Delgado, who oversees the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, along with two of that unit's officers as well as D.C. Councilman Tommy Wells.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said five of the six attacks since June 21 are not considered hate crimes.
“Advocates in that community seem to think offenses are not taken as seriously as others, and they ask that we” list the sexual orientation, Newsham said. “They say they want that information out there, and we accommodate them.”
Four of the cases involved transgender victims, and police in three of them listed their sexual orientation in news releases.
The MPD has been accused in the past of being insensitive or indifferent to the city's LGBT community, and now the department pays close attention. Delgado’s GLL Unit investigates all cases with any tones of suspected bias. A hate crime conviction in D.C. can lead to punishments up to 11 / 2 times the maximum penalty.
Police officials also acknowledged to LGBTQ Nation Monday that a task force is reviewing all of the recent attacks.
UPDATE: MPD announced Tuesday they have made an arrest in the violent assault of a gay drag performer in Northwest Washington. Raymone Harding, 28, is accused of attacking 24 year old Miles Denaro, inside a restaurant on June 23. A bystander caught the 3:15 a.m. assault on camera. Harding has been charged with simple assault. A second woman is wanted by police.