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Lambda Legal: LGBTQ POC more at risk of police violence

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WASHINGTON — On Monday, Lambda Legal submitted written testimony to the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice highlighting the disproportionate levels of violence and abuse that LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ people of color.

Lambda Legal said they submitted the testimony notwithstanding concerns about the Commission, which is composed entirely of law enforcement officials.

The testimony comes in the midst of the protests and civil unrest sparked most immediately by the officer-involved killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville and Tony McDade in Tallahassee, all three people of color and one, McDade, a transgender man. But these three are only the most recent examples of police abuse suffered by people of color in the United States. And the death of McDade is only the most recent in an epidemic of violence and death suffered by transgender people, particularly transgender people of color.

“LGBTQ people, particularly those who are Black or Brown, are disproportionately over-policed and incarcerated as a result of systemic discrimination and bias, including at the hands of police,” said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Puneet Cheema. “We need to rethink our system of public safety and not rely on law enforcement as first responders where an arrest doesn’t resolve the underlying issue. We need to invest in city and community services for all residents.”

“Despite our reservations about this Commission, Lambda Legal has submitted testimony to raise awareness about the ongoing mistreatment of LGBTQ people by police and others in the criminal legal system.” said Sharon McGowan, Legal Director and Chief Strategy Officer at Lambda Legal and formerly Principal Deputy Chief of the DOJ Civil Rights Division. “

Lambda Legal’s testimony details the fact that LGBTQ people, particularly those who are Black and Brown, are disproportionately vulnerable to over-policing due to systemic discrimination, face bias from law enforcement agencies and in the courtroom, and are disproportionately incarcerated, sexually assaulted, and denied adequate medical care in prisons and jails

You can read Lambda Legal’s full testimony here.

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