Those who know me know I take a special interest in issues regarding the Police and the LGBTQ community. Within the community, there is often a fear of the police and a felt sense that the police are not there for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and queer persons. I’m not a fan of far reaching generalizations, so I’ll make no comment about if this is or isn’t the case.  I do however wholly believe that anyone and everyone deserves to be treated appropriately by the police and while the police have a difficult job to do, we as a community must demand that they act in a professional manner towards everyone.

An incident did occur yesterday about 4PM at Pittsburgh Pride, and a young woman was engaged by a police officer. There is video floating around and some of the attached description is alarming.  Within the City, I believe everyone from the Mayor’s office throughout the police department is aware and investigating. If individuals involved also file a complaint with the Citizens Police Review Board, an independent review process can also begin.

I’m interested in three things:

  • Was this young woman treated inappropriately by a member of the Pittsburgh Police?
  • Why was an office engaged at this specific time and place at Pride?
  • Are there underlying issues or factors that led to this event happening?

I’d just encourage everyone to take a deep breath, do whatever they can to help get all the facts brought to the table and remain engaged until there is a full investigation and a report. That means not jumping to conclusions, or talking speculatively about what something *might* mean and the “what ifs.” We, as a community must demand that the City does a thorough investigation and report, and try to keep the rhetoric from spiraling out of control until that happens.

And I suppose ultimately, what can be done to insure that the LGBTQ community receives the appropriate treatment and support of the Pittsburgh Police in each and every situation? I hope every effort will be made to thoroughly understand the specifics of the current issue, the underlying factors and I hope there is a concerted effort to get it all out in the open so that the individual involved is treated properly, and the community can understand.  The worse thing that can happen is for this incident to merely reinforce myths about the police and the LGBTQ community.