LGBTQ Face Police Discrimination
Are you an LGBTQ individual who has felt the disdain of law enforcement when you needed their help? Or worse, have you experienced harassment from police due to your LGBTQ status? Although we all hope for an enlightened law enforcement presence in our communities, LGBTQ folks have been disappointed in the realities across the country.
As communities across the globe celebrate diversity of all kinds, millions of LGBTQ Americans engage in local activities, and sadly, they sometimes find themselves less than welcome. Worse yet, the very police who are supposed to protect them are often nestled at the root of the problems. Studies show again and again just how pervasive the problem is:
- Researchers surveyed LGBTQ individuals and those who were HIV positive and discovered that nearly three in four individuals had experienced police contact within the previous five years. Of those, more than one in five said they’d encountered a hostile attitude from police, with 14 percent reporting verbal harassment. Another three percent described sexual harassment, and two percent complained of physical abuse. Overall, reports of police misconduct, neglect, and abuse were significantly higher for respondents who were black and brown, transgender, or gender nonconforming.
- In another study looking at police interactions with LGBTQ individuals nearly half of respondents claimed to have suffered various forms of police misconduct, ranging from unjustified arrests to excessive use of force, and including entrapment.
- Ultimately, trans people experience police violence at four time the rate of cisgender people, and LGBTQ people are incarcerated three times more often than the rest of the American population. Another troubling fact: four in ten women behind bars are queer.
Consequences of Discrimination
When the very people who are sworn to serve and protect become infected with hatred that results in discrimination and harassment, entire communities suffer because victims of hate crimes are reluctant to report:
- LGBTQ people are often targeted and profiled by police, leading to more stops for things like loitering, ID checks, prostitution, and similar offenses.
- 40 percent of gay and bisexual men fear that if they contact police in need of assistance due to a violent incident, police would not be helpful. About six in 10 respondents say they believe police would offer more compassion and assistance to a heterosexual woman in the same situation than to a gay man in need.
- Studies show that just over half of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community are ever reported to law enforcement;
- In a study involving over 2,300 LGBTQ people, more than one-third of crime victims said their complaints were inadequately addressed by police.
When the police do not address violence, perpetrators are given free rein to attack again and again, eroding the stability and security in those communities.
Fighting Against Hate
In Nevada there are additional penalties associated with hate crimes, including those associated with sexual orientation. While it can be difficult to prove that police misconduct occurred based on bias or hate, the Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys at Lobo Law are dedicated to fighting for justice on your behalf. To discuss your situation, contact our office for a confidential consultation today.