What to do in Richmond if you feel your rights or safety have been violated or threatened
As unconfirmed reports of attacks and homophobic and racial violence begin to seep in, its hard to think of what to do and how to address it.
While long term solutions are hard to grasp at the moment, in the short term there are groups in place to offer support where they can.
The Virginia ACLU has already seen a spike in website and social media traffic, according to Bill Farrar, the Virginia Director of Public Policy & Communications for the national civil rights group. Thankfully, a lot of the interest has come from folks hoping to offer support, but like everyone else he’s not sure what comes next.
“We’re still waiting, like everyone else, to see what concrete proposals, appointments, what comes out of this,” he said. “The lack of specificity with [Trump's] policy has been a problem, so hopefully some of that will become clear.”
He pointed to Clinton’s words which asked people to give the President Elect the chance to do the right thing.
But for those of us on the ground, the issues they can or could see going forward are all too real a possibility – and the VA ACLU wants to be there if they can.
Through a digital intake system, people who feel their civil rights have been violated can file complaints with the group in the hopes of getting legal support.
“We seek to hear from people who may have had their civil rights violated,” Farrar said. “If that’s a person in the LGBTQ community, an immigrant, a journalist… we want to hear about that and try and determine if there’s any legal recourse.”
Farrar admitted they do get a lot of submissions through the form, but he promised every one would be looked at. If it’s something the ACLU can actually help with, then they’ll do what they can.
“We’re the not the police of people being nice and kind to each other,” he said. “But if you have an interaction that feels wrong, then air on the side of caution and let us know about it.”
But if your life or safety is in danger in particular, you don’t have time for an online complaint. In that case, Richmond Police LGBT Liaison Capt. Dan Minton said folks should take steps to carefully identify their attacker and make mental notes where possible.
“What that person looks like? what are they wearing? and what makes them stand out?” said Minton in an interview with GayRVA.
If you do feel threatened or are concerned you might end up being threatened, Minton said calling the police – either 911 or their non emergency number at 804-646-5100 – is the best option.
“We much rather you call and not need us then not call and have needed us,” he said. “When you call we will need a detailed description of the suspect so be prepared to give the person’s descriptors, the direction of travel if they have left the area, and a description of their vehicle if applicable.”
As for those who feel unsafe contacting the police, Minton, who took over as LGBT Liaison and has served in RPD for over 20 years, hopes folks will see otherwise if their lives are in danger. He promised the police’s top priority was protecting all members of the Richmond community.
“The city of Richmond just had one of its most successful Virginia Pride Festivals to date on Browns Island. This event was celebrated by the city’s vibrant LGBTQ community in partnership with and protected by the Richmond Police Department and other local agencies,” he said. “The Richmond Police Department is a reflection of the community and a part of the community. Richmond is our family and will be protected and defended as such.”
If you’ve been a victim of violence or aggression, or just need someone to talk to right now, groups like The Virginia Anti Violence Project are also available with phone and text support 24/7. Check out more contact numbers below:
24 support hotline – 1866-356-6998 (Virginia)
24 text line – 804-793-9999
Richmond phone line – (during normal business hours) – 804 -925-9242
Regional LGBTQ Police Liaisons:
Henrico: Capt. Linda Tony - 804-501-4860
Richmond: Capt. Dan Minton 804-240-9158
Chesterfield: Corp. Elliot Anderson 804- 543-5210
Those who do not look upon law enforcement favorably rarely have the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings with police officers in a safe environment.March 21, 2016
- Meet the new RVA LGBTQ Police Liaison, Henrico Commonwealth Attorney this Saturday at Diversity Richmond, January 12, 2016
- Meet Richmond’s new Police Chief, and LGBTQ Ally, Alfred Durham, March 25, 2015
- Join Central VA Police Departments for a community conversation at the GCCR this Sunday afternoon, January 14, 2015
- Prev Message left on a car in North Carolina: ‘Gay Families = Burn in Hell. Trump 2016′
- Next Diversity Richmond to hold community conversation on Trump election this Sunday
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