Sunday, April 4, 2010

Policing Gays: To Protect and Unserve?

Sadly crimes against the gay and lesbian community aren’t new. Even sadder is the fact that sometimes those who are supposed to protect and serve, the City’s finest are often the ones whom target gays. Recently at Chi Chiz, a gay bar frequented by Blacks and Hispanics located in the area of NYC called “The Village” was targeted by an undercover policeman. The police it seems, are trying to shut down the establishment. The reason? So called drug dealing by the patrons. I have often been to Chi Chiz and over the 11 or so years since it has been open, I have never been approached, nor seen anyone dealing drugs. I can’t say that drugs have never been sold there, I can only state that I’ve never seen it in all my years going there. Still for an undercover cop to have allegedly stated “ This fag establishment needs to be closed down” seems more of a case of homophobia then drug dealing.

The real reason may be quotas, or maybe just old fashioned homophobia. I have worked the last 20 years as a clerk in mostly entertainment and corporate law firms. I’ve also been singled out by the police. The first time I was going to ( surprise) a club in Manhattan with my partner and friend of ours. We were walking, talking about the club we were going to when out of no where a group of policemen came up to me with guns drawn asking “is everything alright”. The concern was touching. Not! When I asked them why they had stopped us with guns drawn, one of the officers responded “ we saw you put your hand on him”. I had patted him on the back. I told the officer “Of course I did, we’re friends and we’re going to a gay club”. I was told “ Oh we knew you were gay”. At this point we already knew the deal , so we told the police since everything was alright, we had to get to the club where our other buddies were waiting.

One might say that wasn’t so bad. That was only the first time. The second time I was coming home with my partner. We were on our way home after work and had stopped at the Supermarket. Just as we had reached the corner of where we live, two policemen stopped us and asked me to empty my pockets. I asked them why they were stopping me. The answer? A man had cut someone ten blocks away. The perpetrator was wearing a baseball cap and was Hispanic. I was furious, so I told the them I was just on my way home, which was less than 5 feet away. I also asked them if they were stopping everyone in the neighborhood with a baseball cap? After telling them that I worked at a law firm on Park Avenue and my partner worked at Supreme Court in Manhattan,we showed our I.D.,the other cop told his partner to let us go .If you are stopped by the police, please remember to stay calm. Here are a few guidelines as to what to do.

The point of my story is that just because someone is supposed to be on the side of the law, doesn’t mean they will act accordingly. There are no doubt many good cops, and a few bad ones shouldn’t destroy the good reputation that so many good ones work hard for.  One or two drug dealers or criminals shouldn’t destroy the reputation of good hardworking , decent people either. I can’t say all cops are good, nor can I say all are bad. The same can be said of anyone. To judge a book, so to speak by its cover, and pretend to know the whole story is not only foolish but wrong. Not everyone with a hoodie is a thug or a criminal.


  1. Very good article! It really irritates me whenever I am reminded of how unjustly not only you and I have beeen treated by those in "authority", but also many others who have experienced the same and worse(even lost their lives in some instances). Thank you for shedding a light on this. P.S. I love the pic!


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