In a D.C. city council oversight hearing Friday, members of the gay community and MPD Chief Cathy Lanier discussed the city's strategy for curbing hate crime.
MPD has classified two of the 2012 hate crimes against transgendered people as bias motivated, says Jason Terry of the D.C. Trans Coalition.
In light of recent anti-gay attacks, testimonies carried particular weight. Lanier looked on as the father of Japarker Jones, a hate crime victim, gave emotional testimony. In February, Jones was repeatedly stabbed at a northeast Metrobus stop.
"Because of this excellent law enforcement people, this individual will face justice, and I'm not constantly tormented by who did this and why,” says Jones’ father Judean Jones.
But D.C. city council members questioned police commitment to task forces aimed at bringing down hate crimes through community meetings. D.C. city council chief Phil Mendelson cited recent meetings where police were either late, or not even there.
Lanier says she wasn’t aware of anytime police weren’t at the meetings.
And the questioning didn’t end there. City council members also questioned police commitment to sensitivity training and the method for tracking hate crime closure rates.
Lanier defended her departments training, citing rigorous training and personality tests. Councilmen David Catania urged Lanier to deeply consider MPD's role as a leading example.
Gay community members criticized police outreach, urging for more community involvement and a detailed study of possible D.C. police bias.
"We know that not all murders can be solved,” says Terry. “But we do deserve insight into what the road blocks are so we can help solve them.”