Houston cops don ‘chrome penis,’ arrest 20 in gay sex sting, activist says

police Longtime Houston activist Ray Hill reports that the Houston Police Department arrested more than 20 men last week in a gay sex sting at Memorial Park, according to OutSmart Magazine:

Hill, who said he has been in contact with one of the men arrested, explained that eight to ten male vice officers dressed in Speedos and suggestive T-shirts, were along the jogging trail during daylight hours, attempting to beckon male joggers and walkers into the bushes. “[My source] tells me that one of their shirts had what resembled a chrome penis on the back, and some of the other T-shirts looked to be gay pride affiliated,” Hill said.

Hill tells OutSmart those who followed the officers into the bushes were arrested on charges of solicitation of prostitution, handcuffed and loaded into two vans parked nearby.

“We have a lesbian Mayor, a ‘gay-friendly’ police chief and a SCOTUS decision (Lawrence v Texas) finding the law against homosexual conduct unconstitutional, yet these men had to post bond, were held an illegally long period of time in Houston City Jail, they must hire lawyers, defend against the charges, some will lose their jobs and make their family lives confusing at best,” Hill wrote on Facebook. “Could someone mention this to the mayor on one of her campaign stops?”

Houston’s lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, is up for re-election in November.

OutSmart reports that it’s not the first time HPD has conducted such a sting at Memorial Park, with two similar operations netting more than 30 arrests in 2006.

“The cops are going to say they were in uniform [during these arrests],” Hill told OutSmart. “To the vice officers, this is a sport-like activity to impose on perverts — and by ‘perverts,’ I mean ‘queers.’”

—  John Wright

Ray Hill Arrested

Ray Hill

Ray Hill

Just two days after filing to run for Texas House District 147 Houston LGBT activist Ray Hill has been arrested… again.

Yesterday evening Hill and his friend Richard Nevills visited Treasures, a gentlemen’s club on Westhiemer Rd. According to Nevills he dropped Hill off at the door and went to park the car. When he returned a young police officer was “shoving Ray into a squad car and bragging that ‘ain’t no one gonna call me a motherf*cker.’” Nevills reports that the officer was yelling so loudly “you could hear him yelling across the parking lot.”

Hill has a long history of arrests for civil disobedience, including one that led to the the landmark civil rights case Houston v. Hill in which the United States Supreme Court upheld the right to yell at police officers as free speech. Nevills is uncertain if Hill actually used the aforementioned obscenity at the officer. Lower courts have routinely found that obscenities directed at the police are protected speech, including recent cases in Pennsylvania and Idaho.

Hill is currently being held in the Houston Police Department Central Jail awaiting transfer to the Harris County Jail. He has been charged with an unclassified assault on an officer and is awaiting a second charge. Bail has not been set. Video of the incident was taken by an observer according to Nevills who is trying to get permission from that person to release the video.

Nevills says that Hill is in good spirits and that the police department has told him they are looking out for the elderly Hill’s health concerns; “Ray’s just letting the process do it’s thing.”

 

—  admin

Montrose bar patron attacked with baseball bat

A man leaving a bar in Houston’s heavily gay Montrose area was badly beaten by a suspect wielding a baseball bat last weekend. OutSmart reports that the 46-year-old victim, who asked not to be identified, suffered two broken arms, numerous bruises, and a head wound that required 14 staples to close. The suspect remains at large, and the victim said there was another similar beating in the area about a month ago. Police aren’t currently treating last weekend’s incident as a hate crime but say their investigation remains open. From OutSmart:

The attack, which occurred on Sunday night near the corner of Crocker St. and Fargo St., was witnessed by several people. …

“He didn’t say anything, he just put his bat in his hand and had this look in his eyes like, ‘I’m gonna kill you,’ ” said the man, who wanted to remain anonymous. “He started swinging and I started running.” …

The victim, who remains at home and is estimated to take six weeks to two months to recover, said he knows of at least one other similar attack which occurred in the same area about a month ago.

“He’s out there at night waiting for someone to come walking down the street after the bar closes,” he said, “and he’ll jump out and hit them.”

—  John Wright

Did those fired TABC agents go to work for the Houston Police Department?

Examiner.com reports that a Houston police sergeant is under investigation for anti-gay comments he allegedly made prior to the city’s Pride parade last month:

The high-ranking officer said the complaint alleges that the Special Operations sergeant was preparing to leave the police station when he was heard telling officers under his command that it was time to go for “f—ing up some fag–ts” and he said some “fags are going to jail tonight.”

The story notes that Houston has a lesbian mayor, Annise Parker, who pushed for LGBT police officers to be allowed to wear their uniforms while marching in this year’s parade. But it’s not the first time there have been complaints related to police at Houston Pride: In 2009, HPD Mounted Patrol officers were accused of harassing spectators and participants.

An internal affairs investigation into the sergeant’s comments is ongoing, according to the story.

—  John Wright

Gay and lesbian Houston police officers will be allowed to march in Pride parade


The Houston Police Department will allow gay and lesbian officers to march in uniform in the city’s Pride parade this June. HPD Chief Charles McClelland made the decision at the request of openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, KIAH-TV 39 reports in the video above. While this isn’t the first time gay officers have marched in the Pride parade, the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council is objecting:

“Putting the city’s stamp of approval with our law enforcement officers, on a lifestyle that’s highly controversial and very contentious as a public issue, is something we don’t think is very wise,” said Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council.

Police have been allowed to march in the Gay Pride Parade before. But now, with an openly gay mayor, it’s an issue of increasing concern for some religious groups.

“We don’t think it represents the values of the City of Houston,” said Welch.

However, the Rice study does suggests those values are shifting. Meanwhile, gay rights advocates like Banks believe they still have a long way to go.

“We’re actually still the only major city in Texas? that doesn’t have an ordinance preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Banks.

While police can wear uniforms to march in the parade, they must use personal time to march. The police union said HPD has between 300 and 500 gay or lesbian officers.

The estimate of 300 to 500 gay and lesbian HPD officers seems pretty outrageous. I’m assuming this is a statistical calculation as opposed to a reflection of how many officers are out. Even so, it seems high. By the way, we’re not aware of gay and lesbian officers ever marching in uniform in a Pride parade in Dallas. Part of the reason is that there’s only been one out DPD officer at any given time — the LGBT community liaison officer.

—  John Wright

Public memorial tonight for Houston trans woman whose murder remains a mystery

A public memorial will be held tonight for Myra Ical, a transgender Houston woman found murdered in the Montrose area last week.

According to a press release from the Transgender Foundation of America, the vigil will include two moments of silence, one for Ical and one for the six murders of transgender people in Houston since 1999 that remain unsolved. There will also be a moment of noise-making “to recognize that it is silence that allows the perpetrators of crime to go unpunished.”

The TFA and others have taken issue with the Police Department and The Houston Chronicle for referring to Ical as a man and for saying that her body was found in a “well-known spot where homeless people camp and is frequented by prostitutes and drug users.”

According to the above update from KHOU.com, Ical’s murder remains a mystery. Her body was covered in bruises and showed signs of a struggle. Police aren’t treating the case as a hate crime but haven’t ruled it out.

Tonight’s memorial will be held at the site where Ical’s body was found, in a vacant lot at Garrott Street and Richmond Avenue. The Facebook event page has more than 100 confirmed guests.

—  John Wright