UPDATE: Dallas police release report filed Friday by Taylor Garrett’s apartment complex

The other day we told you how Taylor Garrett, the gay Republican cast member from The A-List Dallas, had alleged on Twitter that a “liberal” threw a rock (above) through a window at his Dallas apartment, with a note attached calling him “an embarrassment to the gay community” and “a pathetic mother fucking twink.”

We also told you that gay blogger Joe Jervis was questioning Garrett’s report, accusing him of a publicity stunt in advance of Monday’s premiere of The A-List: Dallas. Jervis’ suspicions were fueled by the deletion of Garrett’s original tweet about the incident, along with the fact that no one could find any record of a police report having been filed.

Since then, however, we’ve learned that a report was filed with the Dallas Police Department on Friday, Oct. 7 — the same day Garrett sent out his initial tweet. Here’s a screen grab of Garrett’s archived tweet from yfrog.com.

Some gay bloggers are now reporting that Garrett only filed a police report “four days later” — after they began to question his account. However, Instant Tea has obtained a copy of the police report that was filed Friday by someone at Garrett’s complex, which is in the Dallas Design District.

—  John Wright

Victim says robbery suspect asked directions to JR.’s, but police call report ‘very shaky’

Earlier we reported that undercover officers working the area of Douglas and Congress in Oak Lawn ended up capturing a murder suspect last week. Laura Martin, LGBT liaison officer for the Dallas Police Department, told us plainclothes officers have been assigned to the area regularly in response to “issues with robberies.” And, according to police reports, another aggravated robbery took place two nights later and two blocks away — at Congress and Throckmorton. However, a police spokesman on Tuesday questioned the validity of the report, saying the victim waited 19 hours to file it and only did so because he needed it for his lost phone.

The victim, a 20-year-old Latin male, told police that he and a friend were walking from their parked vehicle toward the nightclubs on Cedar Springs in the 2800 block of Throckmorton at about 12:45 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24. That’s when the two suspects approached and asked for directions to JR.’s. The suspects said they were visiting from New Orleans and hinted that they were performers of some type, according to a police report.

As they crossed Congress on Throckmorton, one of the suspects pushed the victim into a secluded area off the sidewalk, pointed a handgun at him and stated: “You know what this is. Give me everything in your pockets.” The victim handed over his cell phone and wallet, and the suspect reached into his back pocket and removed some cash. The victim told police he believed the other suspect was robbing his friend at the same time.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for the Dallas Police Department, said Tuesday afternoon there have been no arrests in the case. Asked whether the victim’s friend ever contacted police, Janse said: “No, his whole story was very shaky. He waited 19 hours to call us only after his cell phone company said he needed a report for his lost phone. The witness was never heard from.”

—  John Wright

Pride 2011 • LGBT seniors in Dallas ‘just out of luck’

One man’s plight highlights the needs, dangers facing the entire community of older LGBT people

Kee-Holt
Kee Holt

David Webb  | Contributing Writer
davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com

Almost a year after a well-known gay community activist was discovered wandering the streets and apparently suffering from dementia, he remains alone in a nursing home near White Rock Lake without any support from family or friends, according to representatives of Dallas’ Crisis Intervention Unit.

“He is completely alone,” said Valencia Hooper, a caseworker for the unit, which is a program administered by the Dallas Police Department. “He doesn’t have anybody.”

The activist, whose identity is being withheld because of his vulnerability, was arrested by police just before Christmas last year when he was allegedly discovered trying to get into a car that did not belong to him. At the time the activist was homeless and wandering the streets after being evicted from his Oak Lawn apartment.

It is suspected that at the time of his arrest he was too confused to understand what he was doing, and that he was likely trying to find shelter from the weather.

While he was in jail¸ the activist came into contact with a nurse who realized that he was suffering from dementia and did not belong there, according to Marilu Thorn, another caseworker with the unit that initially assisted him and tried unsuccessfully to locate family members or friends who knew him.

Thorn said that when she started looking into the activist’s personal history in an attempt to find help for him, she was shocked to discover that he had been so well-known in the community. A few years ago, the activist was on the Democratic Party’s ticket running for a state representative’s position for a district in central Dallas.

Thorn reached out to the Dallas Voice for help, and a notice was posted on the newspaper’s blog featuring a picture of the activist and asking for assistance in locating his family. The effort was unsuccessful so the activist now only has contact with nursing home staff, other residents and the caseworkers who still monitor him.

“He’s pretty much out of it,” said Hooper, who noted that he needs someone to visit him and make sure that he has the personal things he needs such as clothing and shoes. “He’s really a very sweet man.”

Hooper said that as it stands now, if the activist were to die there wouldn’t even be anyone to notify to determine if anyone wanted to hold a memorial service. “He is going to die someday,” she said.

The activist, who moved to Dallas in 1975, is believed to have a son and a grandson somewhere, but apparently no one knows how to contact them. A former roommate of the activist’s now reportedly lives in Florida.

Hooper said that when the activist was first evicted from his apartment, some of his neighbors tried to help him for a while. One neighbor would let him sleep on her sofa at night. He would go to the streets during the day when she left for work.

“They didn’t know what to do,” Hooper said. “They kind of treated him like he was a little dog.”

At the time the activist’s plight came to the attention of the Dallas Voice, research showed that there were scarce resources dedicated to aging LGBT people who lack personal resources. Although the activist’s plight sparked some concern in the community, apparently no progress has been made so far.

One reader who commented about the lack of resources said the community’s resources are rightfully dedicated to HIV/AIDS services, and that there is no room for other programs.

He said that LGBT people are already entitled to the same resources that benefit all elderly people, but another reader noted that many programs benefiting seniors are religion-based and reject homosexuality.

Resource Center Dallas sponsors a program for LGBT seniors, the GLBT Aging Interest Network or GAIN, but its primary focus is education, entertainment and social activities, according to Kee Holt, RCD’s center services manager who oversees the GAIN Program.

After the activist began receiving help from the caseworkers, he was transferred from jail to a medical facility for evaluation and eventually was placed in the nursing home.

Thorn said anyone who was aware of the activist’s plight could have called Dallas’ 311 service to report his situation. That would have resulted in his case probably being referred to the

Crisis Intervention Unit, and he would have avoided the trip to jail, she said.

“It shouldn’t have gotten that bad,” Thorn said.

Holt said that as unfortunate as this man’s story is, a nearly complete lack of services in Dallas for LGBT seniors means that he is probably not the only one in such a situation.

“There’s really nothing at all out there for GLBT seniors in this city,” Holt said. “If you’re an older GLBT person here who needs some specific services, you’re really just out of luck.

There are no GLBT-specific shelters, no GLBT-specific services or resources. Oak Lawn United Methodist Church does have a program that helps a lot of people, but it’s not GLBT-specific.”

There are, of course, more general services and resources for senior citizens in the area, and Resource Center Dallas recently became a member of the Community Council of Greater

Dallas, an umbrella organization for Dallas-area agencies on aging. But, Holt stressed, those services are often not educated on the special needs of LGBT seniors and in some instances are outright hostile.

“When I first took this job in 2008, I started just cold-calling all the nursing homes and assisted-living facilities I could find in this area, just to try and get a feel for what people knew about LGBT seniors and their issues and how welcoming they would be,” Holt said. “I got hung up on a lot of times, and I even had some people tell me that they didn’t have any LGBT residents because ‘they grow out of it by now.’ Some just told me, “We don’t have that kind of thing here.’”

It’s attitudes like those, Holt said, that put many older LGBTs in an untenable either-or situation: “They have lived their lives as out LGBT men and women, and now, they face the decision of either going back into the closet and spending the rest of their lives hiding who they are, or they can stay out and face being ostracized, maybe even mistreated, by staff members and other residents at the nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

“It’s just a really, really difficult situation, with no good answers right now,” he said.

Holt noted that the Dallas Area Agency on Aging has recently asked Resource Center Dallas to conduct diversity training for its staff in an effort to increase understanding on LGBT issues. That is a step in the right direction, he said, but there are many more steps that are needed.

“The Resource Center needs a full-time staff person to work on just these issues. I don’t have the time to do that, and the funding for that isn’t there right now,” Holt said. “What we need in Dallas is an activist organization focusing on these [LGBT senior] issues. I don’t think that GAIN will be that organization. But we need one.”

Dallas Voice Senior Editor Tammye Nash contributed to this report.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Making up a winning team

Frank Holland

Pekers gay bar sponsoring team of Dallas Police officers in softball league

DRACONIS VON TRAPP | Intern
Intern@dallasvoice.com

When most people in Dallas think of nightclubs sponsoring a softball team, they think of the Pegasus Slowpitch Softball Association. But the owner of the gay bar Pekers, located on Oak Lawn Avenue, this year broke that mold by sponsoring a team of Dallas police officers competing in softball league that plays in Garland.

Frank Holland, owner of Pekers, said the partnership started after some of the officers responded to a call in his bar’s parking lot. The extreme heat of this year’s North Texas summer was taking its toll on the officers, so Holland’s bar offer them water and food.

Not long afterward, “They actually came in and asked us if we would sponsor them,” Holland explained. “They remembered how nice [the people at] Pekers were, and they loved the logo.”

Holland also said the bar has gotten very good response from its patrons, who think it’s great that Pekers is sponsoring the officers’ team.

“Most of the gay bars have a really good rapport [with the Dallas Police],” Holland said. “We think it’s a good thing for the community because it shows the police are not as homophobic as people think they are.”

And the officers are happy with the arrangement, too.

Officer Brian Nolff, one of the softball team members, said that he and his fellow officers worked in the Oak Lawn area and had been looking around at different sponsorship opportunities. The gayborhood had been kind to them in the past, Nolff said, so they figured Pekers’ sponsorship of the team would be a good connection for them.

“It’s been real positive as far as the officers [and the community] are concerned,” Nolff said.

Nolff said it doesn’t matter where the sponsorship comes from, as long as the team supported. The prospect of having a gay bar as a sponsor didn’t deter any of the team members, he said, adding that they “haven’t had an issue with it yet.”

Pekers will be paying for the team’s uniforms and other equipment, and club staff and patrons plan to caravan out to Garland to watch the games. The games will be held on Monday nights at Audubon Park at 7 p.m.

—  John Wright

The Top 10 hotspots for violent crime in Dallas (which no longer includes the Cedar Springs strip)

Last week we told you that violent crime was down 29 percent in the first six months of this year in the roughly 1-square-mile sector that includes the Cedar Springs gay entertainment district and much of Oak Lawn. At the time, we didn’t have a list of violent crime numbers for all 27 of the Dallas Police Department’s Targeted Area Action Grids (TAAGs), which are essentially the city’s worst crime hotspots. But DPD Administrative Sgt. Moises Ochoa followed up by forwarding those statistics on Friday, and they contain more good news: The Wycliff-Maple TAAG (shown above), previously known as the Cedar Springs-Wycliff TAAG, ranked 11th for violent crime among the TAAGs from Jan. 1 through July 11. DPD officials have cautioned against ranking the TAAGs, because they vary somewhat in geographic size and population density. But when we first started reporting on the TAAG statistics two years ago, the Cedar Springs-Wycliff was No. 3 on the list. Below are the top 10 worst hotspots for violent crime in the city of Dallas during the first six months of 2011, according to the statistics provided by DPD. To view the raw data, go here. And for a map showing all the TAAGs, go here.

TAAG: Number of violent offenses

1. Five Points: 100
2. Ross-Bennett: 94
3. WebbChapel-Timberline: 75
4. JuliusSchepps-Central: 73
5. Forest-Audelia: 72
6. Loop 12-Jim Miller: 66
7. Greenville-LBJ: 62
8. Lake June-Buckner: 59
9. JohnWest-Buckner: 57
10. Overton-Illinois: 54
11. Maple-Wycliff: 51

(Based on number of violent offenses recorded Jan. 1 through July 11, 2011. Violent offenses are murder, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault.)

—  John Wright

WATCH: Dallas police seek help identifying suspect in robbery on Wellborn in Oak Lawn

The info below, along with the video from a home surveillance camera, just came across from DPD. Note that police do not believe this robbery is related to one that occurred the night before on Throckmorton Street. Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse told Instant Tea that the suspect descriptions from the two incidents don’t match. There have been no arrests in either case, and both remain under investigation. From DPD:

Armed Robbery Caught on Tape

Dallas Police Robbery Detectives are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying and locating several aggravated robbery suspects who stole a victims property at gunpoint as he was walking down the street. This offense took place on July 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm in the 2700 block of Welborn. The offense was captured on surveillance video and was documented on case #183542-Y.

In the [below] video, the suspect vehicle, described as a small white 4 door vehicle, is seen driving slowly down the street. The vehicle pulls over just out of view and the passenger gets out with a gun. This suspect is described as a black male about 20 -25 years old, standing 6’1”-6’2” and wearing a grey or white tank top. The suspect walks up to the victim and demands his shoulder bag. The second suspect was the driver and never exited the suspect vehicle.

Crime Stoppers will pay up to $5,000 for information called into Crime Stoppers which leads to the arrest and indictment for this felony offense or any other felony offense. If you have information about this crime or these suspects, please call (214) 373-TIPS (8477) or the Dallas Police Department Robbery Unit at (214) 670-4414.

—  John Wright

Just when you thought it was safe: Violent robbery reported 1 block from Cedar Springs

Earlier we mentioned that violent crime is down 29 percent so far this year in the area surrounding the Cedar Springs strip. But here’s a good reminder that you shouldn’t let your guard down: Those numbers don’t include a particularly violent attempted robbery that occurred late Monday near Throckmorton and Hall streets.

According to a police report, the victims were walking east, away from Cedar Springs, in the 3300 block of Throckmorton Street at about 11:30 p.m. when they passed the two suspects. One of the victims greeted the suspects by saying, “How are you doing?” The suspects didn’t respond, and after walking past the victims, they immediately turned around and confronted them. One of the suspects displayed a black, semi-automatic pistol, pointed it at one of the victims and said, “Give me your money, bitches!”

The suspect then hit the victim twice with the gun in the left side of his face. The victim managed to knock the pistol out of the suspect’s hand, and it fell into the street, where they continued to struggle over it. The suspect punched the victim several times, knocking him to the ground, and the second suspect picked up the pistol. The suspects then started to flee before one of them stopped and yelled to the other, “Let’s check his pockets.”

The suspect approached the victim, who was still on the ground, and attempted to check his pockets. But one of the other victims, fearing the suspect would shoot his friend, came over and began yelling at the suspects, who finally fled north on Hall Street.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for the Dallas Police Department, said Wednesday morning there have been no arrests in the case, and no suspects have been identified. “Detective is still investigating it,” Janse said in an email.

—  John Wright

Violent crime down near Cedar Springs strip, but vehicle burglaries help fuel overall increase

The Wycliff-Maple TAAG is shown in blue. (Source: DPD)

Violent crime was down 29 percent in the first half of 2011 in the roughly 1-square-mile hotspot that encompasses the Cedar Springs gay entertainment district, according to statistics obtained this week by Instant Tea. However, nonviolent property crimes are on the rise, jumping 23 percent near the strip during the same time period.

The Wycliff-Maple Target Area Action Grid (TAAG), previously known as the Cedar Springs-Wycliff TAAG, recorded 51 violent offenses from Jan. 1 through July 11 of this year, down from 72 offenses year-to-date in 2010, according to the statistics provided by the Dallas Police Department. Violent crimes include murder, rape, aggravated assault and robbery. Of those offense types, only aggravated assaults have seen an increase this year in the Wycliff-Maple TAAG, going from 14 in the first six months of 2010 to 17 in 2011. Robberies of individuals, considered the main crime issue for club-goers in the area, fell from 46 last year to 27 this year.

But when it comes to nonviolent crimes, the area has seen big increases in two categories — business burglaries and motor vehicle burglaries. The number of business burglaries nearly doubled, going from 13 in 2010 to 25 this year, while motor vehicle burglaries jumped from 119 to 192. Vehicle thefts stayed the same at 63, while residential burglaries dropped from 62 to 55, and “other thefts” fell from 58 to 53. All told, the number of nonviolent offenses jumped from 315 last year to 388 this year in the Wycliff-Maple TAAG.

Combined with the violent crime numbers, it adds up to a 13 percent increase in what are known as Part 1 offenses in the Wycliff-Maple TAAG this year. The area has seen 439 Part 1 offenses so far in 2011, up from 387 year-to-date in 2010.

That puts the Wycliff-Maple TAAG at No. 5 for Part 1 crimes on a list of 27 similar crime hotspots citywide. The No. 1 crime hotspot in Dallas? Ross-Bennett, which has recorded 695 Part 1 offenses this year. Overall, the 27 TAAGs have seen a combined 15 percent drop in Part 1 crimes.

—  John Wright

DPD’s full report on the assault of a Log Cabin Republicans member at the Hilton Anatole

Surely you recall the case of a Log Cabin Republicans member who was assaulted by a Marine at the Hilton Anatole during the gay GOP group’s National Convention last month. You may also remember that the Dallas Police Department initially declined to release its report from the incident. This prompted Instant Tea to file a request under the Texas Public Information Act, and earlier this week we obtained a copy of the report.

You can read the narrative sections of the report by going here and here. You’ll notice that we’ve redacted the names of the suspect, victim and witnesses. (Also, please excuse our underlines.) The first narrative was written by officers who responded to the Anatole. The second was written by an officer who interviewed the parties at DPD headquarters the next day.

According to the report, the victim and three of his friends clearly felt the incident was an anti-gay hate crime. They told police the suspect just walked up behind the victim, said, “What’s your problem, faggot?” and shoved him, cauing his head to strike a drinking glass, cutting his nose. The victim and his friends also pleaded with officers to take the suspect to jail — and even threatened to contact the media if they didn’t. But the officers chose instead to issue a citation, and allow the suspect to return to his room, due to “conflicting stories.”

The suspect claimed the victim had whistled and made sexual gestures toward another member of the suspect’s party. The suspect told police that when the victim refused to stop, he shoved him.

The next day, the victim and his partner gave written affidavits saying the victim had consumed up to 10 drinks prior to the incident at various locations, including JR’s and the Round-Up.

The suspect, meanwhile, said that when he approached the victim and asked him to stop making catcalls and sexual gestures, a small verbal argument ensued and the victim stood up from his chair. This caused the suspect to feel threatened, according to the report, and he shoved the victim down.

When the victim and suspect ran into each other at the police station, the suspect apologized and they “discussed that both of them were intoxicated and that each had a part in this event.”

“This is not a hate crime as the suspect did not single out the [victim] for his sexual orientation,” the report states. “During the heat of the altercation the suspect did call the [victim] a faggot. The [victim] stated that he did not have time to come back to Dallas to pursue this offense and was glad that the suspect apologized and recognized that his actions were wrong.”

 

—  John Wright

2nd arrest in gay Dallas couple’s murder

Danny Dews in custody in San Antonio (KSAT.com)

Dallas police have arrested a second suspect in the murder of a gay Far East Dallas couple found dead in their burned apartment last month.

Danny Dews, 23, was arrested Wednesday night in San Antonio and faces a charge of capital murder. Oscar Mirelez Young, 23, was arrested Saturday in Uvalde, west of San Antonio, and also faces a capital murder charge.

The victims, 59-year-old Mike Humphrey and 61-year-old Clayton Capshaw, were found dead in their apartment in the 11200 block of Woodmeadow Parkway on April 27, after the apartment was set on fire to cover up the crime.

According to police, Humphrey may have picked up Dews and Young for sex near Dallas’ homeless shelter, the Bridge. Dews and Young reportedly planned to rob the couple, who were found dead from stab wounds and blunt force trauma.

Dews was captured near a homeless shelter in San Antonio and appeared to have tried to changed his appearance, growing a beard and shaving his head. Police say they believe Dews and Young traveled to San Antonio together after committing the murders.

The case is not being treated as a hate crime.

—  John Wright