This is from Facebook:

Last night Lauren Jurysta had a gun put in her face by homophobic assholes coming out of Pleasure Bar in Bloomfield. In her words “They called me a dyke bitch then pointed a gun at me.” This is the 2nd time someone coming out of the Pleasure Bar has done something to harm someone for being gay. There will be a rally there at 7pm on the corner of cedarville and liberty. This is important whether you know Lauren or not, as it could have been any one of us.

I don’t know any of the facts, so unable to report more than to say that this rally will happen, or I think it will happen.

This incident follows two incidents last year, one of which was in the same area of Bloomfield, but the fact that a gun was pulled suggests an escalation in violence and that makes this even more important.

However, from a very brief thread on Facebook, I wonder if there are actually two issues going on here.

  1. Fact: No one, GLBTQ or perceived to be GLBTQ deserves to be harrassed, bullied or bothered because of who they are or who others perceive them to be.
  2. Fact: When faced with a homophobe, especially a drunk homophobe, we each make choices about how we are going to respond to the injustice of being harrassed.

Person on Facebook: I really do not want to see this become an instance where people are saying or thinking “what did she do to deserve this?” or “this isn’t really a gay bashing”. No matter what, people have the right to stand up to homophobia without others accusing them of provoking violence. As bell hooks says, “Rage is an appropriate response to oppression.”

Thomas Waters: Why would anyone suggest that anyone deserved having a gun pointed at them? That is pretty ridiculous. Having a gun pointed at you is a crime and we can only expect to receive the type of help that we deserve rom authorites if a police report is filed. Can you show me or tell me who is accusing anyone of provoking violence?

Person on Facebook: No one yet in this instance. I am thinking back to previous gay-bashing incidents that were not taken seriously because the victims were flamboyantly dressed and/or “provoked” their attackers by not being quiet and taking shit.

Thomas Waters: Well, I am aware of 2 gay bashing incidents and in each case (one in Bloomfield and one in Highland Park) they were BOTH taken very seriously. Everyone deserves to walk down a street, wait for a bus or visit a local business ad be treated with dignity and respect. When police reportsd are filed and contain adequate information, it becomes easier for the police and other authorities to take action. In this current incident, a gun was pulled which is a real escalation in violence against a member of the community and that is a very big deal that should be taken very seriously.

I’m interested in knowing if a police report was filed, and if it was how did the police handle themselves and this situation? I’m interested in knowing if the police report contained adequate information so that the police could take action, investigate and help make the city a safer place for LGBTQ and those perceived to be LGBTQ.

Violence happens everywhere, and anti-LGBTQ violence can happen even in very gay places like West Hollywood. The way places get safer is for all of us to stand up and not accept violence against people for any reason.

But I’m also concerened about the re-writing of history. In both of the previous incidents authorities took the situations very seriously. In the case of the Bloomfield bashing, no police report was filed, and so the police could not investigate. However, because of the severity of what happened, and the accusations made against some folks, I am told that traffic cameras were reviewed which showed the Queen actually threw the first punch. He did get the shit kicked out of him, whic no one deserves, but one has to ask if throwing the first puch is a good idea when facing a group of drunk straight dudes. Because no police report was filed, how could this be taken any more seriously?

In the case of the Highland Park incident, everyone, especially the police, myself, and councilman Patrick Dowd, took this extremely seriously. A police report was filed, and because of that one detail, the situation was used to really look at problems with the way that the police can respond to gay bashings. This resulted in Zone 5 committing to come and take police reports in a place that is considre4d to be safe by a victim so that a victim isn’t subjected to a harsh and inhospitable experience at the police station.

In neither case did anyone take anything that happened as not serious.

Pittsburgh is becoming a very gay and gay friendly city. It is in the best interests of everyone that whenever any incident happens it can be investigated fully and any steps taken to stop futher actions. Perhaps more details of this incident will become evident at the rally this evening.

  • Anonymous

    The police can not act on a crime if no police report is filed. In fact at tghe time of the rally on Wednesday evening, thgey had no knowledge at all of what was alledged to transpire on Tuesday evening. So, why is it that you want @Doley to ask the police? That’s humorous.

    Personally, I wouldn’t want to live in a society where the police had the ability to start to investigate something without a police report filed. Countries like that exist across the globe and for citizens there is itreally scary.

    Additionally, from what I saw, I did see people arrested. I did not see anyone assualted. If anyone has fottage of that happening, PLEASE bring it forward as it can be used to hold officers accountable for their actions. If you do not know where to go with it, my suggestion is the ACLU who are already aware of this situation and may be able to step in and help those who were arrested or anyone who was harmed.

    • Guest

      That makes no sense. Terrorism investigations, surveilence investigations of establishments “rumored” to sell to underage kids, etc. I’ve oftened seen TV reports where the police heard about an assault, got a video of the crime and then asked the publics help in identifying the assailants and victims. I think you need to look into this before stating things as facts. Afaik, the police can always open an investigation into suspected illegal acts. They do generally however need the cooperation of victims/survivors/witnesses in order to successfully prosecute these cases. If you believe otherwise please post some kind of legal basis for this.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a blogger and not a lawyer, but there are vast differences in law and investigation between terroist stuff and when a private citizen has a gun shoved in her face. But really all you need to do is look at what you said for the answer: “where the police heard about an assault.” How does this happen? 
        Someone calls 911 and makes a report. Without that report, nothing happens. I appreciate too that you say “They do generally however need the cooperation of victims/survivors/witnesses in order to successfully prosecute these cases.”But I am not sure why we are arguing about this at all. As you say yourself, the police need to hear that something happened, i.e. a report such as calling 911 or going in and filing a report.Incidentally, I believe that a report has now been filed in this case.I think you watch too many crime shows. Where do you think the police will get a video of the crime? I know on TV, there always is one.but in the real world… 🙂 I’m a blogger. I write  from my own perspective abouyt things. I work very hard to make sure that what I say is accurate, but I don’t have to prove anything. Things I say are adequately researched (more than simply referencing something I saw on TV) You can either agree with me or not, and my blog accepts comments just for that purpose. However, it is a blog.

  • Anonymous

    I need to write a second reply. Tonight’s protest turned ugly and there was police action that was unreasonable and wrong. I do not mean my words to suggest that everything the police does is OK or right. But we won’t be able to stop abuses of power unless we are willing to stand up to it, and voice the truth.

    CS, I DO realize there are reasons why people feel afraid to file a report. I just believe we must change that rather than accept it as if it were all that can be.

    • Anonymous

      You were also depefending the police tonight, blaming a person who shared their story about police violence for the police violence, rrefusing to listen to people’s concerns about your videos, and other things. After what you saw tonight, I hope you have lost a little of your faith in the cops. If you keep seeing what you saw tonight, like so many of us have, you’ll lose it completely.

      • Anonymous

        This is so utterly untrue. I did not Blane anyone! I did go up and ask someone because I was seriously was interested in hearing her story. I still am. But I didn’t blame her in any way for any thing.

        As for refusing to listen to people’s concerns- this too is utterly false. A woman came up to me and asked me not to post my video to the Internet so that it couldn’t be used by the police. She shared some info with me about why she said that. I have posted no video. I don’t know how I can be accused of not listening. You are truly entitled to your own opinions but you are not entitled to make up stuff and pretend it is true.

      • CS

        Dude just practice step up step back. Specifically the step back part. Delta foundation thinks they own the queer movement. And only their opinions matter. And they can always be seen at events like this jumpin to the mic to yell and say a bunch of speech-generator stuff but never realize that the amount of space they take up silences a lot of other people and makes delta foundation and their pro-cop apologism look like spokespeople for entire movements (whether they mean to do it or not). So yeah, just make space for other people and don’t act like you know everything. Check your privilege and all that.

      • Anonymous

        CS, thanks for making your real agenda so clear. I am an individual. I am not Delta. I do not speak for Delta, at least not hear on my blog, and Delta has nothing to do with this in any way shape or form.

        Yes, I stepped up to the mic and sorry if you didn’t like it.There was a good crowd there, and no one could hear, and so I yelled loudly. If you have a problem with that, fine, it is your problem and not mine.

        You have your own axe to grind, and it isn’t about what I write here. 

      • Anonymous

        And you post anonymously. A liar and a coward.

      • Anonymous

        Mature. When you’re wrong the best thing to do is start with the name calling. Your interview on the news was ridiculous. The rich white cis gay man always find away to take the spotlight doesn’t he?

  • CS

    Please keep in mind that there are a variety of very good reasons people do not call the cops or file police reports after gay bashings such as (trigger warning):
    -Police are often the bashers
    -Police often join in the bashing if they are not the original bashers
    -Police often arrest the survivor rather than the basher or both
    -Police have raped, beaten, verbally abused, bashed, and assaulted people all over this city and many people find that they are the last people they want to call after suffering violence
    -If the basher has a record or something and does not want to risk things
    -Police do not take bashing seriously or their solutions to the bashings hurt more than they help
    and so on

    In saying you aren’t blaming the victim but are criticizing survivors’ choices not the call the police you are in a way blaming them and others for the bashing. Please respect the choices people choose to take. Have solidarity with your fellow queers by understanding and respecting them, rather than criticizing them (however good you think your intentions are).

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for posting and adding your comments. Your comments may be true in the most generic sense, however, how police respond and act is a solvable issue. We will only solve it however by speaking up, filing reports and taking action.

      Here is Pittsburgh, the Police leadership is 100% behind making sure that all residents are treated fairly and professionally, and if there are cops who do not act that way, it will only be by filing reports and complaints that we can end this inequity.

      I do not believe I ever “criticized the survivor for not reporting.” I simply said that a result of not reporting is that the issue can not be investigated. 

      Solidarity doesn’t mean accepting the status quo. To be told that a person won’t file a report  for a bunch of reasons that may be fictitious, is enabling, not supporting.

      The choice of the word “survivor” is also very interesting. A person who has been bashed is a victim of a crime and deserves justice. At least in our current legal system, justice comes through using the police and expecting them to be professional, responsive, and protect everyone.

      • CS

        hahahahahahahahahahahahaha wow. 100% behind making sure the residents are treated fairly? hahahahaaa

      • Guest

        I think you know TC that this simply comes down to a fundamental difference of view between queers. I can respect the above as your opinion, but I disagree with it entirely. The police leadership continually permits and protects abusive police officers. There is a long line of incidents of brutality and abuse that have been reported, had CPRB and OMI complaints filed, and resulted in no justice. The whole string of officers promoted who’d been involved in domestic violence incidents being just the start. I think you would benefit from understanding that your relationship to the police is not the same as others, and that for other people involved in non-mainstream political work there is a history of repression in this country. To expect that everyone would related to the police similarly is silly.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t really believe this is about a dispute “among queers,” but rather it is about the police. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint.

    •  Im gay. Im a police officer. I dont think Ive raped anyone whose been bashed lately. I havent arrested any survivors. Ill tell you I HAVE been stabbed in the back by more queens than cops. No report=no police… NO EXCUSE.

      • Doley

        what if she made it up and that is why there is no police report?

      • Strigiform

        Here we go with the victim blaming. Queers have nothing better to do then make up bashings, because, you know, they don’t happen EVERY DAY ALL THE TIME.

      • Doley

        where’s the police report then? why is he free to do this again?

      • Alix

        Why don’t you ask the police who were busy assaulting and arresting the protesters last night about that?

      • Doley

        sure, post the video of those beatings and I will ask them!

      • Anonymous

        Lauren doesn’t strike me as the type of person to make this up, but that is just my opinion. I’ve been hearing this comment more and more. 

        *IF* the point of the rally was to draw attention to the homophia exhibited by a drunk wiuth a gun, why has that been completely forgotten about and the focus turned entirely on the police?

        I’d very much like to see a real police report filed for this incident.

      • Guest

        The problem with this line of reasoning (Why has it become about the police?) is that the police always have the power to make it about themselves if they want. You can’t simply talk about the underlying reasons the rally happened when the police are also queer bashing. And make no mistake, this was police bashing because they treated this group significantly differently than they have other groups. I have been on Liberty many times when people have come onto the streets to celebrate sports events. Sometimes the police were prepared, sometimes they weren’t. In every case they bent over backwards to give people the opportunity to celebrate and many warnings before doing anything else. I think we should expect that people speaking about violence in the community should be afforded at LEAST the same respect.

      • Doley

        Why has it become about the police and this mystery “queer bashing” that never took place at this event?

      • Anonymous

        I can’t agree but appreciate your sharing your perspective. To say that “the police are also queer bashing” is not supportable. I also do not agree that they treated this group any differently. Please cite examples and anything that wouls support such a claim.

        In terms of people on Liberty, I believe it is true to say that the police gave this group over an hour of not complying before taking any action, and in that hour I think they did bend over backwards. Just my opinion.

        I don’t think it is realistic to say “I think we should expect that people speaking about violence in the community should be afforded at LEAST the same respect.” The people speaking, i.e, the individual with thge bull horn was causing no issue or problem. It was the fact that a good size crowd was totally blocking the sidewalk and this is a violation. The truth is that the police suggested to move the rally to the park, and even Lauren while she spoke said, “let’s go to the park.” 

        In my opinion, I watched the police behave very respectfully early in the event. I think it is very easy to question if they acted respectfully when the arrests started. I don’t know what a respectful vs not respectful arrest would look like.

      • Strigiform

        “very respectfully”, by pushing people and threatening mothers with children. Uh huh.

      • Anonymous

        I did not see that. If you believe that happened, file a complaint, the ACLU can assist. Everything I witnessed was very respectful.

      • CS

        Why would people make this up? Just because you don’t witness something, doesn’t mean you discount what MANY other people did witness by making sweeping statements about police being respectful and passive aggressive shit about filing reports. Get over yourself, dude.

      • Report_violent_people

        i dunno, why did David Japenga move to Pittsburgh just to smash windows?

      • Anonymous

        I really don’t understand this comment at all.  If many people saw abusive behavior by the police, by all means then, file a complaint. Otherwise, it is just you making an accusation.

      • Report_violent_people

        pics or it did not happen

      • Anonymous

        I don’t have this confirmed, but I have been told that a police report was filed. Lauren struck me, in all my interactions with her as being honest and straight forward about all of this.

      • Anonymous

        THANKS for posting! 

      • Strigiform

        Thanks for the input. And for turning the situation around to you being the victim. If you haven’t bashed anyone or done anything racist or sexist (doubtful) then why aren’t you holding all your friends accountable? Thin blue line. Cops stick together no matter what.

      • Anonymous

        Why are you so caught up in victim thinking. Why can’t people simply share their experience and their side of the story without the victim card being played?

    • Steve_perry

      lolz “trigger warning”

      Please keep in mind that there are a variety of very good reasons people
      do not trust anarchists (trigger warning):
      -Anarchists are often the bashers
      -Anarchists often join in the bashing if they are not the original bashers
      -Anarchists often attack with total disregard if they have the correct target.
      -Anarchists
      have shoplifted, stolen, sold hardcore drugs, beaten, verbally abused, bashed, and assaulted people all
      over this city and many people find that they are the last people they
      want to call after suffering violence
      -If the anarchist is a white, the judge gives them a slap on the wrist
      -Anarchists do not take the real community they live in seriously or assist in with community projects that do not directly benefit their lifestyles.
      and so on

      In
      saying you aren’t blaming the victim but are criticizing survivors’
      choices not to trust anarchists you are in a way blaming them and others
      for the bashing. Please respect the choices people choose to take. Have
      solidarity with your fellow members of the community by doing everything you can to drive them out of your neighborhood.

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