Metro Weekly

Hateful Handbill

MPD Police Chief Cathy Lanier responds to flier with internal investigation

Chief Cathy Lanier has launched an internal investigation within the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) Major Crash Investigative Unit following reports of fliers circulating within the unit earlier this month. The fliers mocked gays and the deaf/hard of hearing.

”This flier, while isolated to this office, contained comments that were both offensive and unacceptable,” Lanier states in a letter issued on MPD’s Special Liaison Unit e-mail listserv on Monday, July 19, adding that a news article published in the Washington Examiner prompted the investigation.

On July 13, the Examiner reported that fliers found at the unit featured a photograph of two male employees gesturing gang signs under text reading: ”Celebrating D.C.’s First Deaf Mute Gay Marriage.” Additionally, the flier included text that the men will take part in ”naked sweaty man love.”

”It’s disturbing,” says Kelly Pickard, co-chair of the Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), a program of The Center, D.C.’s LGBT community center. ”It’s just not something you would expect to take place in a professional office setting, much less a police department.”

According to Pickard, GLOV members discussed the matter and then expressed their concerns in an open letter to Lanier.

”This is completely offensive to both the LGBT community and to the deaf and hard of hearing community,” that letter reads, in part. “The article states that Chief Lanier did not respond to a request for comment, but GLOV would urge the Chief to publicly denounce these fliers. Our concern is that silence from MPD will be viewed by some as tacit approval.”

Lanier did not remain silent. She penned the note announcing the internal investigation a few days after GLOV sent that letter.

”Upon learning of the existence of this material, I immediately directed Internal Affairs to conduct an investigation into this matter,” Lanier announced in her July 19 release. ”… I am clear to all my members that I will not stand for any type of discrimination; therefore, individual acts, such as the creation and distribution of these fliers are reprehensible and only serve to damage the fine efforts that our members strive to achieve in establishing respect and trust in the community. I can assure you that any behavior of this nature … will not be tolerated.”