En Español Know Your Rights
Source: New York Blade
Subject: TGNCIQ Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Two Lesbians Assaulted in Brooklyn

Women allege that
cops beat them while shouting anti-gay slurs



In
the early hours of May 17, police officers from the 77th Precinct in the Crown Heights
section of Brooklyn allegedly beat two
lesbians outside the IFE Lounge, located at the corner of Nostrand and Atlantic
Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

 


Jeannette Grey, 31, and Tiffany Jimenez, 19, were
attending a lesbian party at the club and had stepped outside when police
showed up to quell a fight in front of the bar. Though they were not involved,
they said cops threw them on the ground and beat them with nightsticks while
shouting anti-lesbian epithets and taunts.

  

Jimenez,
a petite woman, said in a statement that after cops demanded that she lay face
down on the street, “one cop put his knee on my leg and back and he was at
least 200 pounds, maybe more, and I’m small. They put me in the cop car [with]
no shoes, no nothing.”

 


A
witness, Delores Crawford, told News12 Brooklyn that “they had their knees in
her, beating her with sticks.”

 


Grey
said several officers called her a “bitch-ass dyke” and subdued her with nightsticks
though she did not put up a fight. “I immediately relaxed my body and put my
arms up where they could see I wasn’t resisting. I screamed at the top of my
lungs for someone to hit record on their camera,” she said.

 
 

Both
women were taken into custody and brought to the 77th Precinct. Grey was
charged with disorderly conduct (a violation) and criminal trespass (a
misdemeanor). Jimenez was charged with disorderly conduct and obstruction of
governmental administration, also a misdemeanor. At some point during the
incident, Grey was taken to a nearby hospital fgor treatment of her injuries.
Some news outlets reported that Jimenez had also been admitted to a hospital
because she was intoxicated. But Ejeris Dixon, program coordinator with the
Audre Lorde Project, an LGBT social justice organization, told the Blade that
Jimenez never went to a hospital for any reason.

 


After
the incident, Grey sent out an e-mail describing the beatings and asking
witnesses to come forward with cell phone camera photos or videos. It is not
clear if anyone has presented evidence, but Andrea Ritchie, a social justice
attorney and director of the Sex Workers Project of the Urban Justice Center,
is representing Grey’s and Jimenez’s legal interests.

 


On
Saturday, about 200 people rallied against police brutality outside the 77th
Precinct at a protest organized by
GLOBE/Make the Road
NY

and Safe OUTside the System (S.O.S.) Collective of the Audre Lorde Project.
Both groups vowed to support Grey and Jimenez, call attention to the problem of
police misconduct against the LGBT community and present a list of demands for
justice.

 


Officers
from the NYPD’s Department of Community Affairs were present to keep people
inside a pen on the sidewalk. Any officers that were inside the fortress-like
Precinct were unresponsive.

 


City
Council member Letitia James advocated a dialogue between the NYPD and LGBT
community of color to avoid further conflict. “What the NYPD needs to
understand is that the world is diverse, and everyone—no matter your race, your
creed, your sexuality—should be treated with respect,” she said to rousing
cheers.

 


James
demanded an apology from the officers involved and that Kings County District
Attorney Charles Hynes drop the charges against the women. She also called for
an internal NYPD investigation into the allegations.

 


Acknowledging
that not all police officers are anti-gay, Grey encouraged people to channel
their outrage productively. “It’s wrong of me to say that all cops are
barbaric, just as it’s wrong for them to think we all need to be handled in
this manner. Speaking to the cops of the 77thPrecinct, I know that not all cops
believe in this type of behavior. And it’s the good cops we need now,” Grey
said.

 


The
protest concluded with the organizers’ list of demands. Among them, they urged
Governor David Paterson to appoint an independent prosecutor for cases of
police violence in New York,
and pushed the City Council to introduce legislation enhancing the powers of
the Civilian Complaint Review Board so it has the authority to enact practical
change.

 

Later
that day, news outlets reported that the NYPD was investigating the women’s
claims but no further comment was given. Police had not spoken directly to the
organizers of the protest by press time.

 


“With
the rally, we hoped to accomplish a few things: that the police officers
involved get punished and fired, and to set an example showing that police are
not above the law. They enforce it,” said
Tannavionne
Cintron, an organizer with GLOBE.

  

“These aren’t made-up
incidents; this isn’t something random that happens once. [Anti-gay attacks]
occur quite often and go unreported,”
Cintron said.