ADL Concerned About Recent Spate of Hate Crimes in the District

Washington, DC, August 9, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed deep concern over recent reports of multiple alleged attacks against lesbian and transgendered individuals in the District. In the past several weeks, there have been reports of two shootings of transgendered women and a verbal and physical assault against a group of five lesbians. The shootings, one of them fatal, occurred on July 20 and July 31, one block away from one another in Northeast, DC.

The shootings reportedly shared many similarities, and prompted the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to characterize them as "a potential emerging pattern". The third alleged attack occurred outside the Columbia Heights Metro Station on July 30 and reports indicate that three men shouted homophobic slurs and physically attacked a group of five women.

ADL commended Chief Cathy Lanier for opening an investigation into the handling of the alleged crimes by the responding officers. Hate crimes demand full and vigorous investigation, and failure to do so undermines the trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

We are particularly concerned that these attacks occurred within such a short time frame and that the GLBT community has been so clearly targeted," said Sophie Dornstreich, the ADL Associate Regional Director in Washington, DC. "Perpetrators of hate crimes send a message to their victims, and everyone else who shares the victim's characteristics, that they are not welcome or safe," she continued. "Each and every hate crime deserves priority attention because it impacts the entire community. The Anti-Defamation League wants those in the GLBT community to know that we stand with them in the fight against these crimes."

Hate crime statutes have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Many of those laws are based on a model statute crafted by the ADL, which has long been in the forefront of national and state efforts to deter and counter act hate-motivated criminal activity.

The Metropolitan Police Department arrested a suspect in connection with an assault against a lesbian woman near the Columbia Heights Metro station on July 30. ADL welcomed the leveling of hate crime charges against the suspect.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.