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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 07:42 AM
Original message
Two gay men kicked out of Chico's Tacos restaurant for kissing
Source: elpasotimes.com

EL PASO -- Two gay men kissed at a Chico's Tacos restaurant, prompting guards to eject them and a police officer to endorse their ouster.

Civil-rights lawyers say the security staff was out of line. Police, though, contend that a business such as a restaurant can refuse service to anybody, any time.

In all, five men were ordered to leave the restaurant. They say they were forced out by homophobic guards.

"It was a simple kiss on the lips," said Carlos Diaz de Leon, a gay man who was part of the group.

He called police at 12:30 a.m. June 29 because he said the guards and restaurant had discriminated against the group after two of his friends kissed in public.

The five men, all gay, were placing their order at the Chico's Tacos restaurant on Montwood when the men kissed. All five sat down, but the two guards at the restaurant told them to leave.

De Leon quoted one of the guards as saying he didn't allow "that faggot stuff" in the restaurant.

(snip)

De Leon said the officer told the group it was illegal for two men or two women to kiss in public. The five men, he said, were told they could be cited for homosexual conduct -- a law the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas.

That same year, the El Paso City Council approved an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation by businesses open to the public.

more: http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_12790543
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 09:32 AM
Response to Original message
1. "De Leon quoted one of the guards as saying he didn't allow "that faggot stuff" in the restaurant."
I don't even know what to say about this...Part of me wants to sit people like this down and get to the root of their fear and hatred, then show them it is baseless... you know, try to reason with them... I've even tried it a few times but I just do not have the ability to do it. Part of me wants slap the shit out of him for being so fucking ignorant... and while it might make me feel a little better, that would not work either.

I almost think that they should have made the cops cite them for "homosexual conduct." but the sad truth is the cops would probably have arrested them for some different trumped up charge (meaning, one that actually exists). Really, the cops involved should be fired and the security guy charged but... I think we all know that will not happen.

The El Paso chief of police page is here:
http://www.ci.el-paso.tx.us/police/chief.asp

His email is - ChiefOfPolice@elpasotexas.gov

I will be sending him my thoughts on this matter.
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. More
Edited on Fri Jul-10-09 11:22 AM by Ohio Joe
The Mayor of El Paso is John Cook - Mayor@elpasotexas.gov

Council members:

District 1 - Ann Lily - District1@elpasotexas.gov
District 2 - Susie Byrd - District2@elpasotexas.gov
District 3 - Emma Acosta - District3@elpasotexas.gov
District 4 - Carl Robinson - District4@elpasotexas.gov
District 5 - Rachel Quintana - District5@elpasotexas.gov
District 6 - Eddie Holguin jr. - No email listed, contact page: http://www.ci.el-paso.tx.us/district6/dis6_contact_us_N...
District 7 - Steve Ortega - District7@elpasotexas.gov
District 8 - Beto O'Rourke - District8@elpasotexas.gov

I've sent the following note to all of them.

Subject: Officer Misconduct

To: X (fill in recipient)

This morning I was made aware of an incident in your fair city that disturbs me greatly.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_12790543

That any officers are being allowed to threaten people with citation for offenses that do not exist is a serious issue. I would like to inquire as to the discipline action that will be taken against the officers involved?


Thank you for your attention to this matter, Joe X

I actually used my real last name, which is not X, please use your own :P

I'll update with any/all responses I might get.

Edit - Change "I sent the following not" to "I sent the following note"
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. A reply from Council Member Byrd - Something at least
Mr. X:
The officer has been disciplined and is receiving additional training in the law and in working with diverse populations. Additionally, please note that it is against the law in our city to refuse service to the lbgt community. Not only did the officer react inappropriately but he should have cited the establishment for refusing service.
Susie

I responded with a thank you and some words of encouragement for her support of the LGBT community. I don't like the punishment, a cop like this has no business being a cop. I also would have preferred they went back and did give a citation to the business but... I could not think of a way to say it without sounding like a dick so I just went with thanking her for her support... sigh... baby steps are so unsatisfying.
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 12:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Good on you for following through on this.
That is a decent response, more than I honestly would have expected, unfortunately.
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Yeah, definitely better then nothing...
Which really... is what I was expecting as well.

I would suggest to anyone reading, to send Council Member Byrd a note of support though because maybe... just maybe... if people like her understand that they have support, they may be more inclined to make equal rights for the GLBT community the priority it should be. Perhaps refer to this post (with a link, let her read it) or if you would rather use my name, PM me and I will send it to you for reference.

heh, I'll send my name in a PM but really don't want it in an open post... probably makes no sense but what the heck :D
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cboy4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Good job
:thumbsup:
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mitchtv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-10-09 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. Wow , a response
great job
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donheld Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. That is great news
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TokenQueer Donating Member (762 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
8. Done.
Edited on Sun Jul-12-09 12:38 PM by TokenQueer
(This is a repost from your crossover thread in GD.)

Thank you for taking the time to post the appropriate links to these city officials. The complaint I lodged is as follows. :mad:

=================================

Attention: (city official)

I am writing to express my outrage regarding the misconduct of police officers involved in the incident at Chicos Tacos.

http://www.elpasotimes.com/ci_12790543

Is it common practice for officers in El Paso to threaten imaginary charges when called to a scene involving individuals toward whom they hold discriminatory views? Will these officers be allowed to continue their tenure with the police department? Why would Detective Carlos Carrillo state that a more appropriate charge would be criminal trespass? Bigotry of this kind should not be allowed to cower and hide behind a badge. I demand that appropriate action be taken.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this very serious matter.

Sincerely,

Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx
(TokenQueer)

=================================

On edit: Meant to reply to Ohio Joe but appreciate the OP as well.
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TokenQueer Donating Member (762 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Three replies from El Paso public officials
(This is a repost from crossover thread in GD)

The first was an auto response from the Mayor's office:

Dear Constituent:
I would like to personally thank you for contacting me. Your e-mail shows your concern for our municipal government. Our office reviews all concerns from our constituents. However, due to the vast number of emails that the Mayor's Office receives, it is impossible for me to personally respond to each one in a timely manner. If you have a problem that needs immediate attention, please call our office at 915-541-4145. We will be pleased to assist you. If you have requested a written response, we will make every attempt to reply quickly.
Warmest regards,

John Cook

*****

The second arrived an hour later from Councilman Ortega:

Re: Officer misconduct Sunday, July 12, 2009 1:34 PM
From: "Ortega, Steve" <OrtegaSX2@elpasotexas.gov >
I agree with your concern. I have asked for a public statement of apology. The incident was regrettable and unacceptable.

*****

The third arrived a few moments ago from Councilwoman Byrd:

RE: Officer misconduct Sunday, July 12, 2009 4:44 PM
From: "Byrd, Susannah M" <ByrdSM@elpasotexas.gov >Add sender to Contacts
Mr. Xxxxxx:
I am also outraged. It is not common practice which is why the officer was disciplined and will be given additional training in diversity issue and in the law. The police department has also instituted additional training on this issue for all officers during their shift meetings. I am working with the gay and lesbian community to offer some additional outreach to officers to ensure that all folks are treated fairly regardless of their sexual orientation.
Susie

*****

Interesting that my response from Byrd is different than the one Ohio Joe received. Will post any further replies.

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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-13-09 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. I got a reply from Council Member Ortega today
It says:

The incident disturbs me as well.

I am going to be meeting with management today on the issue. I understand that the officer has been reprimanded by the police chief and will be required undergo sensitivity training.

Let me know if you have further questions.

Thanks.

-S

I'm going to send him a reply in the morning and ask for an update regarding how his meeting went. I'll update here again with any reply I get.

Thanks everyone for your help!

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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-13-09 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. And just now, a reply from the Chief of Police
All it says is:

"Thank you for your comments"

Thats it... boy that pisses me off. I will definitely be sending a reply to that, completely unacceptable.
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TokenQueer Donating Member (762 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-13-09 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Get 'em
That's more of a response than I got from the Chief of Police...
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Ohio Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-16-09 07:20 AM
Response to Reply #9
16. Another reply... this one from Council Member O'Rourke
"Mr. X, It was embarassing for all of us. We will change our training procedures and make sure that our officers know the law. I don't know what the consequences are for this individual officer are. Thanks for writing, Beto"

WTF? I'm embarrassed, we are training, I'm clueless? I don't even know what to make of it.
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TokenQueer Donating Member (762 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-17-09 10:03 AM
Response to Reply #9
17. Two more replies from council members.

RE: Officer misconductWednesday, July 15, 2009 3:18 PM
From: "O'Rourke, Beto" <O\'RourkeBX@elpasotexas.gov >Add sender to ContactsTo:

Not common practice, this incident is embarassing and we are strongly reacting to it - we are an open, tolerant and welcoming city. This officer was wrong. Thanks, Beto

**************************************


Flag this messageRE: Officer misconductThursday, July 16, 2009 12:56 PM
From: "Acosta, Emma" <AcostaEA@elpasotexas.gov >Add sender to ContactsTo: "District #3" <District#3@elpasotexas.gov >

Mr. Xxxxxx,

This issue is currently being addressed by the Police Integrity Unit, the Police Chief, and Human Resources. Council is making every effort to ensure that this type of a situation does not occur again. I believe that Rep. Ortega will be placing an item concerning this issue in a future council agenda.



Respectfully,

Emma Acosta

City Representative Dist 3

Mayor Pro Tem

*******************************************


Police Integrity Unit? :shrug: Is that am El Paso version of a department of internal affairs?
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-12-09 10:02 PM
Response to Original message
11. I sent off a letter. More to follow.
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ThomCat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-18-09 08:23 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. The only response I got from my letters was one: "Thank you for your comments."
:(
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mitchtv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-14-09 03:54 PM
Response to Original message
15. I hope no one finds a dead mouse
in their taco
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