Lighting up Oak Lawn for safety

Dallas Voice photographer Winston Lackey was on the scene Sunday night, Nov. 1, for the Light Up Oak Lawn: March for a Safer Gayborhood event. Here are his photos from the event.

—  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

Suspect jailed in Philadelphia trans woman’s murder

Keishia Jenkins

Keisha Jenkins

One man is in jail and three others are being sought by police in connection with the murder last week of trans woman Keisha Jenkins in Philadelphia, according to NBC 10 in Philly.

Philly police are saying that Pedro Redding is one part of a neighborhood gang that has been robbing people in the Hunting Park neighborhood, where Jenkins was shot to death. Police say that Jenkins was a victim of convenience and not targeted for being transgender, so they are not investigating her death as a hate crime.

Police said that Jenkins had just been dropped off on Winghocking Street, near 13th Street, at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6, when she was attacked by a gang of several men who began beating her. When she fell to the ground, one of the men pulled a gun and shot her twice in the back.

A judge this morning (Monday, Oct. 12) denied bail for Redding, 24, who has a lengthy criminal history, including having pled guilty to aggravated assault and weapons charges in 2014.

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Pedro Redding

Jenkins, 22, is believed to have been the 21st trans woman murdered this year in the U.S. She is the second trans woman murdered this year in Philadelphia; Londyn Chanel was murdered May 18 by her roommate.

Thanks to Houston trans activist Monica Roberts and her TransGriot blog where we find this information.

—  Tammye Nash

Rally set for Sunday in response to attacks

Screen shot 2015-10-09 at 11.57.17 AMDallas LGBT activists are calling on the community to rally Sunday night, Oct. 11, on National Coming Out Day, at the Legacy of Love Monument as a show of strength and solidarity in opposition to a recent rash of possible hate crimes in the Oak Lawn gayborhood.

Three gay men have been injured in three separate attacks since Pride parade day in Dallas on Sunday, Sept. 20. About a month and a half earlier, on July 29, the body of murdered trans woman Shade Schuler was found in a field near the Medical District.

And overnight Thursday, Oct. 8, glass doors at JR’s Bar and Grill and TMC: The Mining Company — two Caven Enterprises bars located in the 3900 block of Cedar Springs Road — and at Woody’s Sports and Video Bar — one block over at 4011 Cedar Springs Road — were broken out when someone threw something, possibly bricks, through the glass.

“We say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” declares the Facebook page announcing the Sunday night rally. “On this National Coming Out Day join members of the Dallas LGBTQ community and our allies as we say publicly that we will not be pushed back into the closet by fear, intimidation and hatred. Join our call for justice and vigil with us for the victims of these atrocities.”

We Are Not Afraid: LGBTQ Response to Hate begins at 7 p.m. at the Legacy of Love Monument, located at the intersection of Oak Lawn Avenue and Cedar Springs Road. The list of speakers is still being finalized, but you can check for updates at the event page on Facebook.

Organizers ask that those attending bring signs, banners, flags, candles and other light sources.

Here is the info on the three men who have been attacked:

• A young man named Blake, who has asked that his last name be withheld because his attackers are still at large, was walking near Cedar Springs Road at 9:15 p.m. on Sept. 20 after the Dallas Pride Parade when he was attacked him with a baseball bat and abducted by four men. They pulled him into a car and then dumped him, bloody and beaten, near the intersection of Sylvester and Wycliff.  Because his assailants used anti-gay slurs during the attack, police are investigating the case as a possible hate crime.This case is being investigated as a hate crime. A GoFundMe account is still collecting donations to help Blake.

Jaime (Michael) Domingez was walking home down Cedar Springs Road, near the Cedar Springs Tap House, when he attacked around midnight on Friday, Oct. 2. He was attacked from behind and stabbed and cut several times with a razor blade or knife, leaving him with stab wounds and cuts on his arms, stomach and across his eye. There is also a GoFundMe account set up to help cover his medical costs and other expenses.

A third man named Michael, who also asked that his last name be withheld, said two people punched him recently as he was walking to a Cedar Springs bar. He said he didn’t call police right away because he’d been drinking before the attack happened, but he changed his mind after seeing televised reports about the attack on Jaime Domingez.

Shade Schuler’s badly decomposed body was found July 29 near the 5600 block of Riverside Drive. Police are still trying to determine how she was killed and a possible motive for her murder. Schuler, 22, is one of 21 trans women killed nationwide this year. Most of those victims have been trans women of color.

—  Tammye Nash

Austin police release mug shot of alleged attacker

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Mug shot of Tony Fera (courtesy Austin Police Department)

Austin police have released the mug shot of the man arrested in the attack of Andy Smith, a Texas Instruments executive from Dallas.

The man is Tony Fera, 51. Austin Business Journal identifies him president of MidStar Energy, a Houston oil company. His bail was set at $5,000.

—  David Taffet

Trans woman attacked in NY subway

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Surveillance cameras caught footage of the suspect in a possible anti-trans hate crime digging a plastic bottle out of a subway trash can before throwing the bottle at a trans woman and then pushing her onto the tracks.

A New York transgender woman was treated for cuts and bruises after being pushed onto the train tracks in a subway station near Greenwich Village, according to NBC Channel 4 in New York. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

According to reports, the man who pushed the 28-year-old woman was “acting erratically.” Witnesses said he approached the victim and asked, “What are you looking at?” He then ran to a nearby trash can, pulled out an empty plastic bottle and threw it at the woman. He then went back to the woman and pushed her onto the train tracks.

Surveillance video, from which the screen grab above was taken, shows the man running to the trash can to dig out the plastic bottle.

Thankfully, the victim in this instance suffered no serious injuries. But it is clear evidence that even as celebrities like Caitlyn Jenner are bringing the world’s attention to bear on the trans community and in doing so, hopefully, making the world a better, safer place for trans women and men, the hatred and violence against transgender people continues.

As Laverne Cox said in a Tumblr post yesterday (June 2):

“Most trans folks don’t have the privileges Caitlyn and I have now have. It is those trans folks we must continue to lift up, get them access to healthcare, jobs, housing, safe streets, safe schools and homes for our young people. We must lift up the stories of those most at risk, statistically trans people of color who are poor and working class. I have hoped over the past few years that the incredible love I have received from the public can translate to the lives of all trans folks. Trans folks of all races, gender expressions, ability, sexual orientations, classes, immigration status, employment status, transition status, genital status etc.. I hope, as I know Caitlyn does, that the love she is receiving can translate into changing hearts and minds about who all trans people are as well as shifting public policies to fully support the lives and well being of all of us. The struggle continues…”

—  Tammye Nash

U.S. Marine charged with murder of transwoman in Philippines

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Prosecutors in the Phillipine Islands today (Monday, Dec. 15) charged a U.S. Marine in the October murder of a transwoman.

According to the Associated Press, Prosecutor Emilie de los Santos found “probable cause” that Marine Pfc. Joseph Scott Pemberton attacked Jennifer Laude after learning she was trans. He has been in custody since shortly after the October incident.

“It’s murder,” de los Santos said after filing the charge against the 19-year-old Pemberton. “It was aggravated by treachery, abuse of superior strength and cruelty.”

Pemberton will not be allowed to post bail, she said. Murder is punishable by up to 40 years in jail, reported The Guardian.

“This is not an ordinary murder. This is heinous because she was beaten up,” the Laude family lawyer, Harry Roque, told reporters.

Pemberton and friends met Laude and other woman the night of the murder. According to witnesses, Pemberton and Laude checked into a motel, and Pemberton fled after he killed Laude.

Marine Lance Corporal Jairn Michael Rose was among those with Pemberton that night. He told prosecutors Pemberton admitted to the murder back at their ship.

“I think I killed a he/she,” Pemberton said, according to Rose.

The incident reignited a debate between the Philippines and the United States regarding custody of U.S. military personnel accused of crimes in the Phillipines. U.S. officials evenutally agreed to move Pemberton from custody aboard a U.S. Navy vessel into the custody of Phillipino officials.

The case is a haunting reminder to transgender activists of the case of  U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, who was sentenced to 40 years in jail in 2006 after being found guilty of raping a transwoman. He was, however, acquitted in 2009 after his accuser recanted her statement.

—  James Russell

Jon Buice again denied parole in 1991 gay bashing murder

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Jon Christopher Buice

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted today, Tuesday, Oct. 21, to once again deny convicted killer Jon Christopher Buice’s request for parole.Buice, now 40 years old, was one of 10 men — ranging in age at the time from 16 to 22 — convicted of the 1991 murder of Paul Broussard, a Houston gay man who was beaten and stabbed to death after leaving a gay bar in the Montrose neighborhood on July 4.

It was Broussard’s murder that prompted then-Texas Gov. Ann Richards to call a special session of the Texas Legislature to pass the state’s first hate crimes law in 1993.

Andy Kahan, a victim advocate for the city of Houson, said Tuesday, “Since Jon made the deliberate conscious effort to deprive Paul of his life, all we can do in return is to deprive him of his liberty and today we at least accomplished that for another year.”

Dallas Voice is waiting for comments from Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriguez, who was worked diligently since her son’s death to see his killers convicted, and to keep Buice in jail.

Buice, who admitted at trial that he was the one that inflicted the stab wound that actually killed Broussard, was sentenced to 45 years in prison. He was denied parole in 2007 and in 2009. In 2011, the Board of Pardons and Parole initially granted Buice’s request for parole but then reversed its decision following an outcry by the LGBT community and Rodriguez.

Buice’s was denied parole again in 2012, 2013 and today. Raymond Estrada, spokesman for the Board of Pardons and Paroles, said the reason given for denying parole was “the nature of the offense.” He said Buice is up for review again on Oct. 1, 2015.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: ’666′ graffiti widespread in neighborhood

Legacy graffiti

Dallas Police Det. Laura Martin, DPD’s liaison to the LGBT community, said Monday morning that a detective has been assigned to investigate all cases related to graffiti “tagging” done at a number of locations in Oak Lawn early on Saturday morning. The number “666″ — a number linked to Satan through the Book of Revelations in the Christian Bible where it is called “the mark of the Beast” — was spray-painted onto the base of the Legacy of Love monument on Oak Lawn Avenue at Cedar Springs Road, onto the driveway at two different parking lot entrances at Cathedral of Hope UCC and at a building on Oak Lawn at Maple Avenue that houses, among other businesses, the Dallas Observer.

There have also been reports that the “mark of the Beast” was spray-painted onto the Cedar Springs Road bridge over the North Dallas Tollway, on buildings at a housing development on Lucas Street and onto at least two Dallas Voice magazine racks.

Martin said police are looking into the possibility the graffiti is part of a hate crime. Police are holding a media briefing at 2 p.m. today regarding the incidents, so stay tuned for more information.

—  Tammye Nash

UPDATE: Police investigating hate as possible motive for graffiti as more taggings found

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Det. Kevin Janse at Dallas Police headquarters

Dallas Police are looking into hate as a possible motive for graffiti found early Sunday around Oak Lawn on buildings housing print media offices.

The Legacy of Love Monument and Cathedral of Hope were targeted by taggers with “666” in red spray paint. The Cedar Springs bridge over the tollway was also tagged, as were at least two Dallas Voice distribution boxes.

Chris Kelley, spokesman for Cathedral of Hope, said the church was tagged in two places — on its sign along the street and in the parking lot. By Sunday afternoon, the paint at Cathedral and on the monument had been removed by volunteers.

The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Observer and D magazine buildings were also tagged. Ironically, the building housing Dallas Voice was not touched.

Det. Kevin Janse said police have no leads but hope as word spreads about the graffiti, someone will come forward and provide some clues. He said he hopes whoever did this will start bragging about it when he sees the coverage it’s getting and someone will contact police with a lead.

The spray painting occurred late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Janse said police checked video from the Exxon station on Oak Lawn Avenue, but its video did not catch activity at the Observer building across the street.

Officer W.C. Humphrey, who attended the press conference, told Dallas Voice that graffiti is not uncommon, but the particular “666” message at the specific sites is unusual.

Janse said anyone with information about these or additional taggings should contact Dallas LGBT police liaison Laura Martin at 214-490-0541.

Legacy graffiti

—  David Taffet