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Hundreds protest anti-lesbian attack by cops

Published Jun 11, 2009 8:30 PM

Over 300 members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans community, along with their supporters, rallied in front of the 77th precinct in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 6 to demand justice for two lesbians of color who were brutally beaten and arrested by the police on May 17. The 77th Precinct, particularly notorious for police brutality, is also responsible for the June 2007 beatings and arrests of human right attorneys Michael Tarif Warren and Evelyn Warren, who are African American.

The police assault took place outside a local nightclub, where Jeannette “JG” Grey, 31, and Tiffany Jimenez, 19, were attending a party for lesbians. The cops, all men, hurled the vilest of anti-LGBT and sexist slurs as they beat the two women. JG, a Black lesbian, told protesters how several cops beat her with nightsticks as she lay on the pavement.

Jimenez, a Latina who has cops in her family, read the following statement at the rally: “All of a sudden the cops are pushing me. Next I was on the floor. I had on no shoes and they threw me on my back. I’m screaming and crying. I was in a dress and they rolled me over and my butt was exposed. One cop put his knee on my leg and back, and he was at least 200 pounds, maybe more, and I’m small.” Both women live in Brooklyn.

Speakers at the rally, organized by the Safe Outside the System Collective, an affiliate of the Audre Lorde Project, and Globe, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender project of Make the Road New York—included New York City Councilperson Leticia James, community activist Kevin Powell, and longtime anti-police brutality activist and attorney for the two women Andrea Ritchie.

A spirited march followed the rally, with protesters chanting, “Stop homophobia! Jail the guilty cops!” The protest closed with a militant poem by Yvonne Fly OnakemeEtaghene, which included the lines, “I want to be safe to hold my woman’s hand in the streets at midnight/I want to not have to wait until June to celebrate my pride.”

Community groups called for a list of demands, including firing the cops involved in the beatings and dropping all charges against the women. The women are scheduled to be in court later in June. To find out ways to support these women see www.alp.org or www.maketheroad.org.