Banks Appointed to Citizen Police Oversight Board

Kris Banks

Kris Banks

On Wednesday the Houston City Council confirmed Mayor Annise Parker’s appointment of Former Houston GLBT Political Caucus President Kris Banks to the Independent Police Oversight Board.  The Oversight Board provides a way for Houstonians to have input into allegations against police officers involving use of excessive force, discharge of firearms, serious bodily injury or death or mistreatment of citizens.  The Board also makes recommendations on recruitment, training and evaluation of police officers; and considers community concerns regarding the Department.  Houstini talked with Banks about his new role:

[Houstini] Why have you agreed to serve on the Oversight Board?

[Banks] I believe the Oversight Board performs an important and vital function that benefits all involved. Police officers are granted extraordinary powers over their fellow Houstonians. They can, under legally sufficient circumstances, detain people against their will, walk into other people’s homes without their permission, and even use physical force to make people comply. We grant police officers these powers because they are necessary for the officers to do their jobs. However, with these great powers come great responsibility, and the Oversight Board exists as a check on those powers, thereby protecting the public against the very rare officer who uses her or his powers irresponsibility or excessively. It also benefits the police department. With the assurance that the Board is providing oversight, members of the public can be more confident of the police department, and form a better working relationship with officers.

[Houstini] What do LGBT Houstonians who have concerns about police behavior need to know about the mission of the Oversight Board?

[Banks] Historically, the LGBT community has had concerns about very broad and obvious police harassment, like bar raids. Incidents like these still occur (see Rainbow Lounge in Fort Worth), but they tend to not be the focus of issues that exists between the LGBT community and the police department. Concerns between the community and the police department now tend to be over specific incidents that sometimes come to light and sometimes do not. That being said, the IPOB will review internal police investigations for complaints of excessive force, any discharge of a firearm, any time there is a death or serious injury, or any matter the police chief refers to us. We make recommendations, and the chief has ultimate discretion. What I want to highlight here is that a complaint has to be made for the IPOB to have any role. Complaints have to be sworn, either by the complainant, or, if the complaint is anonymous, by the person taking the complaint.

LGBT Houstonians should also know that I take my role as a community representative very seriously. I will not only take my perspective as an LGBT Houstonian to the police department, I will also take the knowledge I gain back of police procedure back to the community. For instance, I mentioned anonymous complaints above. In the training I have received so far, I learned that organizations can be deputized to take anonymous complaints (LULAC and the NAACP are both deputized). Anonymous complaints are, unfortunately, a big concern for our community. Whether because our congress has failed to pass job protections, family concerns, or any other personal reason, there are still many, many people in the closet. But being in the closet does not mean that a person is not protected. I will learn more about the deputizing community groups and take that back to organizations in our community like the Caucus, Community Center and Transgender Foundation so they can begin that process (as a caveat, I do not have a full list of deputized organizations and any of these organizations may already be deputized).

—  admin

World Bank’s ‘Community Connections’: Now 100% junk science-ier!

This startling discovery comes from Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner:

Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays – PFOX – will soon be able to say that its programming is supported by funding provided to it by the World Bank.

As part of the World Bank’s efforts to ”strengthen communities,” the Community Outreach Program coordinates an annual workplace-giving campaign that includes World Bank matching funds given to various community groups and international nonprofits. Depending on the level of employee participation, the bank’s matching funds are either 50 percent or 100 percent of the employee donations.

For the first time, the World Bank’s 2010-2011 Community Connections Campaign will include PFOX immediately above Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) on its list of eligible organizations, a fact confirmed Wednesday evening by a World Bank spokesperson.

KEEP READING: PFOX in the World Bank Henhouse [Metro Weekly]

Unacceptable. This is an organization built entirely on intellectual quicksand. An organization who’s admitted goal is to eliminate gay people’s inner truths, as those truths are known and accepted by 99% of gay people and all of credible science. An organization whose executive director routinely lies and misrepresents, like on the several occasions when she’s claimed that “71% of men having sex with men are HIV positive”, to name but one example.

This is not something any nonfictional world should be banking on.




Good As You

—  admin

News: Liberal Rally, Archie, Gay Youth, Tyra Banks, Moscow

 road Former "Family Values" Australian MP David Campbell on the sex scandal he was caught in this summer: "People keep asking about (the scandal), but I'm keeping quiet because it's had no influence on my decision (to resign)."

 road Project Runway contestant Mondo Guerra comes out as HIV positive during an episode of the show.

Lm  road Tens of thousands show up at a liberal political rally in front of the Lincolm Memorial. Unlike last month's, this rally is thankfully Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin-free.

 road Great news: A post-Yuri Luzhkov Moscow brings the first gay rights protest to that city in years.

 road CNN fired Rick Sanchez for bigoted statements. No doubt he'll turn up elsewhere soon.

 road Korean mothers take out ad against a show aired on SBS that features a gay storyline: “If my son becomes gay and dies from AIDs after watching ‘Life Is Beautiful’, SBS must take responsibility!”

 road Tom Cruise in disguise as a Russian soldier in Mission: Impossible 4 in Prague.

 road The Archie Comics’ issue of Veronica that features the debut of Kevin Keller sells out – a first for the comic book company.

 road Tyra Banks' head gets webbed. Tyra

 road 500 people remembered Anti-gay bully victim Seth Walsh in California last night.

 road Tyler Clementi's parents speak: "Regardless of legal outcomes, our hope is that our family's personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity. Needless to say, public attention has been intense. The outpouring of emotion and support from our friends, community and family — and from people across the country — has been humbling and deeply moving."

 road 13-year old Asher Brown, who killed himself last week, is laid to rest.

 road Rihanna might soon be a married woman.

 road It looks like Chord Overstreet will not be Chris Colfer’s boyfriend on Glee. That leaves Darren Criss as the likely possibility.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright