DA Hawk schedules another Oak Lawn Town Hall

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Dallas County DA Susan Hawk

Dallas County District Attorney Susan Hawk will hold a second Oak Lawn Town Hall meeting on Monday, April 25, 6 p.m. at the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. Hawk held the first town hall in mid-December to address the rash of attacks happening in the gayborhood and to hear residents’ concerns and questions.

In a press statement released today (Monday, Aug. 18), the D.A. said she is holding the April 25 meeting because, “I wanted to meet with Oak Lawn area community members, again, to follow up with them regarding the safety concerns they presented at our December Town Hall meeting, Our office wants to remain a consistent resource for our community, and to do that we can’t just show up once. We have to keep the lines of communication open and continue to have a presence.”

Hawk said she will update the community on office initiatives and on programs and resources in place to help the LGBT community and Dallas County in general. She will also address ongoing concerns about the attacks last fall. No arrests have been made yet in any of those assaults.

Hawk said at that December meeting that she lived in the Oak Lawn area and had often walked her dog near the location of one of the attacks. Because of that, she added, the attacks in the area “are personal.”

—  Tammye Nash

Friday night in the gayborhood: The mayor, police make their presence known

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Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, right, speaks with staff and patrons inside Alexandre’s on Friday night.

After an assault on Thursday night, Nov. 19, made Geoffrey Hubbard the 12th person attacked in Oak Lawn since Sept. 1, Dallas police announced a plan for increasing police presence in the gayborhood to try to stem the rash of violence.

As these photos from Dallas Voice Associate Advertising Manager Chad Mantooth show, Dallas police were a very visible presence in the area on Friday night, Nov. 20, one night after the attack on Hubbard. And Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings joined the effort, walking the Cedar Springs Strip and visiting with patrons in various nightclubs.

“Anytime, any one neighborhood has an intensity of crimes like this, you’ve got to take it very seriously,” Rawlings said.

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—  Tammye Nash

DPD details stepped-up efforts in Oak Lawn

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DPD’s LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin

Dallas Police Department’s LGBT Liaison Officer Laura Martin has just provided Dallas Voice with a statement detailing the department’s plan for increasing patrols to improve safety in Oak Lawn, following a rash of violent robberies in the gayborhood over the last three months. The most recent attack, which happened shortly before midnight last night (Thursday, Nov.19), sent Geoffrey Hubbard to the hospital with head injuries.

The attack on Hubbard came just hours after the most recent meeting between DPD officials and area residents and business owners, and the community reacted this morning (Friday, Nov. 20), with anger and frustration. Some people even announced their intentions to arm themselves with guns and patrol the area themselves this weekend — an idea Martin warned against.

The statement from Dallas Police reads:

“With a series of violent crimes occurring in the Oak Lawn area, the Dallas Police Department has stepped up its efforts to prevent any more individuals from being victimized. In addition to increased community collaboration with citizens, crime watch groups and businesses, the department has increased police presence in the area. The department is utilizing the intelligence unit and increased staffing in the area, which includes four bicycle officers, 15 police officers (some working in an undercover capacity) and two sergeants who report to the major at the Northwest Division.

“While working to prevent any further violent offenses in the Oak Lawn area, the officers have made seven arrests, but none are related to the violent offenses that have occurred. The department has put together a task force that includes investigators from assault and robbery units along with detectives from intelligence, patrol officers and undercover officers that will be assigned to the Oak Lawn area.”

—  Tammye Nash

No respect

Chad-MantoothLate-night brawl in the neighborhood raises questions, concerns

Chad Mantooth  |  Special Contributor

Respect is earned, not given. This is a thought I had over the weekend after a night out on the town.

I go down to the Cedar Springs area often, both for work and for fun. Because of where I work (the Dallas Voice), I think I’m knowledgeable what goes on in our community, and I consider myself pretty well informed. And the 11 attacks that have happened over the last two months have me concerned, just like everyone else. I want our neighborhood to be a safe place for everyone to come and play.

This past Saturday (Nov7), I went out with friends for a night of fun and laughs — and hopefully to find the love of my life. We all had a good time, making our way up and down Cedar Springs, checking out the various bars along the length of The Strip. The bars were full, and I had no sense of foreboding, no idea that things might go wrong.

But at the end of the night, go wrong they did. After a fun-filled night of drinking and dancing, my night turned to shit.

My friends and I decided to wind up our evening by getting some pizza at Italia Express, right there at the heart of the Crossroads.

While sitting on the patio, we witnessed a group of about 10 people got into a shouting match in front of Havana next door. The group moved to the space in front of Italia Express as the dispute continued and the argument got louder and louder — until someone threw the first punch.

I looked around, searching for any security or police on the street. In the past, I’ve seen a private security guard or two on the street (especially after 2 a.m.), or the occasional Dallas Police Department cruiser driving by.

But I didn’t see anyone of authority this time.

The argument escalated, people began punching each other left and right, with no regard to traffic or any innocent passersby that got in their way. It quickly turned into a mob scene, the fight moving from in front of Italia Express to the middle of the intersection at Cedar Springs and Throckmorton, blocking traffic on all sides before migrating over in front of Hunky’s.

I pulled out my phone and called 911.  The operator told me, “We’ve got officers on the way.”

The fight continued … and continued … and continued.

More people pulled out their phones, mostly to video the ever-growing fight. I was dumbfounded; the fight was getting bigger and bigger, but there were no police officers in sight. I heard no sirens, saw no flashing red-and-blue lights.

Considering all the attacks that have happened recently in the gayborhood, I really expected that there would be officers patrolling nearby. I was shocked to realize there wasn’t a police presence already in the area.

Why weren’t there officers nearby? We’ve been told by DPD that there would be increased patrols, more officers on hand. Were we lied to?

I called 911 a second time and the dispatcher told me there was already an officer “on scene.”  I sure didn’t see any officers there. I didn’t see anyone of authority. And the fight continued: More punches were thrown; more hair was pulled.

The while situation had reached the level of being ridiculous and sad. Why are we in the community fighting with each other this way? Don’t we already have enough problems with threats from outside our community?

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, one DPD car came rolling down Cedar Springs. The officer drove past the fight on the corner of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs and parked behind in the lot behind the Subway. That gave the plenty of time for the drunken brawlers to scatter like roaches in the night.

To my knowledge, nobody was arrested and nobody went to jail.

I left the strip that night filled with disgust. I was disgusted with those involved in the street brawl. I was disgusted by the lack of any police presence on The Strip. I was just disgusted in general. And I was angry.

I respect law enforcement; I know the police have a hard job to do every day of the week. But still I am left feeling that we — the LGBT community — aren’t respected by those that have taken that oath to “protect and serve”?

I don’t think I anyone should ever be punched, especially someone of my own community. We need to come together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder in times like this, not toe-to-toe! If we can’t respect each other, how in the hell can we expect respect from those outside our community?

Now is the time that we must lift each other up and not punch each other down. And if this infighting and disrespectful behavior continues, my fear is the whole neighborhood will go down swinging.

Chad Mantooth is associate advertising director for Dallas Voice. He lives in the Oak Lawn area.

—  Tammye Nash

Five robberies in four days reported on Katy Trail

Screen shot 2015-11-02 at 1.38.31 PMFive separate robberies along the Katy Trail were reported to police between Thursday, Oct. 29, and Sunday, Nov. 1, according to a blog by Dallas police officials. In each one, two suspects robbed their victims at gunpoint.

These incidents are in addition to at least two more incidents — one robbery and one assault — that happened over the weekend in the Oak Lawn. Those two come on the heels of at least nine other robberies and/or assaults in Oak Lawn since the start of September.

The first of the Katy Trail robberies happened about 9:40 p.m. Thursday on the trail near 2740 N. Houston St. The location is near the intersection of North Houston and Victory Avenue West.

The next robberies occurred on Katy Trail Saturday morning, Oct. 31, about 30 minutes apart — at 6:50 and 7:30 a.m. — in the area of 3200 Maple Avenue, which is at Reverchon Park. The final two happened Sunday afternoon, Nov. 1 — at 1:40 and 1:45 p.m. — on the trail near 3100 Routh Street

On Thursday, October 29, 2015, at about 9:40 p.m., two suspects robbed an individual at gunpoint on the Katy Trail in the area of 2740 North Houston Street.

On Saturday, October 31, 2015, at about 6:50 a.m., and again at 7:20 a.m., two suspects robbed individuals at gunpoint on the Katy Trail in the area of 3200 Maple Street near Reverchon Park.

On Sunday, November 1, 2015, at about 1:40 p.m., and 1:45 p.m., two suspects robbed individuals at gunpoint on the Katy Trail near the 3100 Routh Street, about two blocks away of the robberies on Maple the previous day.

The suspects in all five robberies were described as black males in their 20s ranging in height from 5 feet, 7 inches to 6 feet tall and weighing between 140 and 200 pounds. In each case the suspects have been armed with a silver revolver or some other handgun and have been wearing gray, black or blue hoodies with jeans.

Also in each case, the suspects stood on the trail, blocking their victims’ paths, and demanding their property. Stolen items have included cell phones, wallets and money.

Police said no one has been injured so far.

The Katy Trail robberries have occurred in Dallas Police Department’s Central Patrol Division, and officials there said they have increased patrols on the trail in the wake of the incidents. Police are also asking that anyone with information on theses suspects call Det. Loeb of the Dallas Police Robbery Unit at 215-671-3584. Information can also be called in anonymously to Crimestoppers at 214-373-TIPS (8477).

Police urged those using Katy Trail to “always be aware of your surroundings, take note of the trail markers along the trail so that if you have an emergency you can advise 9-1-1 of where you are so that we can direct resources to you as quickly as possible. If you see something or someone you find suspicious, please call 9-1-1 or report it through the iWatch Dallas app.”

The attacks/robberies in the Oak Lawn area fall under the watch of DPD’s Northwest Patrol Division. Five of them are being attributed to a group of two to four Hispanic men, two of them by a single black male and two other by a group of three black men.

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas police ask for info on assaults, robberies

Screen shot 2015-10-26 at 3.38.26 PMWith less than a week to go in October, Dallas police today (Monday, Oct. 26) posted a blog on their website asking for the public’s help in solving a number of robberies and assaults that occurred  in Oak Lawn over the past two months.

During the last two months, police said there have been nine robbery and aggravated assaulted offenses “in or near the Oak Lawn Community … . In every case, the victim was alone in a public place during the hours of darkness when he was attacked.”

Police say five of the offenses reportedly were committed by a group of two to four Hispanic men “who knocked their victims to the ground and punched and kicked them while stealing their property.”

The attackers in one of these five used a baseball bat on their victim “causing serious bodily injury,” police said. That attack happened on Sunday, Sept. 20, after the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade when a young man named Blake (he has asked that his last name not be used while his assailants remain at large) was attacked on a Cedar Springs side street. The men who attacked him dragged him into a vehicle and continued to beat him before dumping him several blocks away near the intersection of Wycliff Avenue and Sylvester Street.

Police are investigating the attack on Blake as a hate crime because of the anti-gay language his assailants used during the incident.

This group of five attacks also includes one on Oct. 1 when Jaime Dominguez was jumped and stabbed in the chest, neck, ribs and on the side of his head while walking along Cedar Springs Road about 1 a.m.

Police said a white Ford van was used in at least one of these attacks.

Two of the nine offenses were reportedly committed by a black male who robbed his victims at gunpoint, according to the DPD blog. The suspect is described as being between 28 to 30 years old, 5-feet, 10-inches in height, and about 150 pounds. In one offense he was wearing a yellow shirt and blue jeans and in the second he was wearing a gray shirt and black pants.

There is no suspect vehicle information for this individual.

The other two attacks were reportedly committed by one to three black men who “knocked their victims to the ground and punched and kicked them while stealing their property,” police said. One suspect is described as being between 18 to 20 years old, 5-feet, 8inches tall and about 150 pounds. The other two suspects are both described as 6 feet tall and about 185 pounds.

There is no suspect vehicle information.

Police ask that anyone with any information on these offenses or these suspects call the Dallas Police Department Robbery Unit at 214-671-3584.

 

 

—  Tammye Nash

Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Watch: Rep. Louie Gohmert Assaults Anderson Cooper with ‘Terror Baby’ Nonsense

Terror-babies

Texas state Rep. Debbie Riddle and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) are convinced that foreign women are coming to the U.S. to have babies in order to get them citizenship, so the babies can then be trained as terrorists against the U.S. Neither have any solid evidence, but that doesn't stop them from being very, very convinced, and Anderson Cooper bears the brunt of their wingnuttery.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright

Police: Gay Men Targeted in Rash of Assaults

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Police in Washington D.C. see a disturbing pattern after four recent attacks on gay men, MyFoxDC reports:

"In an attack at 15th and R Streets in Northwest on June 2, police say a man bent over and tying his shoes was attacked by three young men who first uttered a homophobic slur then hit him with a wooden object. It was around 5:20 p.m.

At 22nd and P Streets near Dupont Circle last Friday morning, police say a man had just left a bar at 1:45 a.m. when another man banged into him and called him a name. The man tried to walk away, but was confronted by a large group of men and women and knocked to the ground….The other attacks were in the 2000 block of P Street, NW on July 24 and in the 800 block of Emerson Street, NW on July 6."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright