Wichita Falls MCC pastor vouches for police force’s gay-friendliness, support
A Wichita Falls policeman who was suspended after city officials learned he maintained a Web site featuring controversial content is not representative of the local police department, according to a lesbian pastor who lives in the city.
The site, which has been removed, reportedly included some anti-gay language.
The Rev. Lea D. Brown, pastor of Wichita Falls Metropolitan Community Church, said the local police department’s force includes friends of the LGBT community.
“I’ve had a number of people tell me since I’ve been here that the police department is actually quite tolerant,” said Brown, a former San Francisco resident who became pastor of the church in November 2005. “It’s pretty supportive, actually.”
Brown said she believes city officials are responding appropriately to the police officer’s Web site.
“If I felt like the police department wasn’t responding well I would definitely be doing something to help the situation,” Brown said.
Jeremiah Love, 26, was indefinitely suspended Oct. 10. An internal affairs report said the postings on Love’s Web site appeared to reflect a philosophy that would adversely affect the public’s confidence in the police force.
The Web site included images of dismembered women, pictures of a nude woman eating entrails, and a woman with a word carved in her flesh.
Love identified his occupation as a “super hero/serial killer” and said his favorite food was “pizza, human flesh (barbecue only).”
There also were remarks about “tasering homos” on the message boards, and a reference to the University of Texas football team being “a bunch of homos,” according to Stacy Horany, a Wichita Falls Times Record News reporter who viewed the Web site before it was taken down.
The Times Record News told city officials about the police officer’s Web site on Sept. 18. The newspaper’s editor, Carroll Wilson, acquiesced to the city’s request to wait on reporting about the Web site until an investigation was completed. The story was reported Oct. 13.
As a result of the revelation, 40 felony narcotics cases and a charge of retaliation and harassment of a public servant worked by Love were dismissed by the district attorney’s office on Oct. 19 because the police officer’s credibility was damaged by the discovery of the Web site. The man arrested for alleged retaliation and harassment, Robert Ellis McDonald, 44, claims he was abused by Love during a traffic warrant arrest on Sept. 18. Love claimed the man became belligerent during the arrest, requiring force to be used.
About a week after McDonald’s arrest, his lawyer found the Web site and informed the district attorney’s office.
Love has appealed his suspension by the city, saying the Web site was intended to be humorous, and that it was a reflection of his fondness for horror movies.
Brown said concerns about the alleged anti-gay rhetoric on the Web site has not been discussed much. Only one congregant contacted her about it, she said.
“I did not actually read it on the Web site,” Brown said.
Brown said she and her congregants are more concerned about the protestant evangelical community than they are the police department. Several times each month there are letters to the editor printed in the Times Record News railing against the “sins of homosexuality,” she said.
“It’s just kind of the air you breathe here,” Brown said.
“No one feels safe walking down the street in Wichita Falls holding the hand of their lover nobody.”
Brown said the Times Record News has published press releases she has sent about the church.
The church, which is located near downtown Wichita Falls, now has about 70 members.
Visit www.wichitafallsmcc.org for information.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, October 27, 2006.
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