Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 42 / 19 October 2017
 

Two get three years probation in Pink Saturday beating

Two gay men who beat another gay man on Pink Saturday were sentenced to three years of probation this week.

As part of the sentence from San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Albers, Otis Cooley, 28, of Emeryville and Dominic McGuire, 19, of Oakland have to stay away from Ray Tilton, 47, (pictured at left) and three of Tilton’s friends, who were witnesses to the incident, which started June 26 outside the 440 Castro bar.

Among other conditions Albers handed down Wednesday, December 22, Cooley and McGuire must also perform 100 hours of community service and keep away from 440 Castro.

Tuesday, December 21, a jury convicted Cooley and McGuire, a.k.a. Deonsay Roberts, with attacking Tilton outside the bar the day before this year’s LGBT Pride celebration.

The jury acquitted Derek Price, 27, of San Leandro and Laselle Manning, 31, of Mesa, California, in the same incident.

Tilton, who lives in Santa Rosa and was Mr. San Francisco Leather in 1990, said that he was pleased with the verdict, especially since many police officers and attorneys had told him the misdemeanor battery case probably wouldn’t make it to trial.

He said that during the sentencing hearing, Albers “very much brought the gay community into it and a number of times brought up gay Pride weekend,” and how it was “supposed to be a celebration.”

He also credited Assistant District Attorney Lilly Nguyen for her work in prosecuting the case.

“She kept saying over and over how important she knew this was for the community,” said Tilton.

Samuel Lasser, the attorney who represented Manning, said several jurors told him “They didn’t think she was telling the truth when she testified, but beyond that the evidence wasn’t clear enough as to her and what she did, what her role was.”

Lasser added, though, “I didn’t think the evidence was clear as to anyone” and their part in the incident.

Attorneys representing Cooley, McGuire, and Price didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Titlon said he’s been invited to join the San Francisco Police Department’s citywide LGBT forum, which is expected to have its next meeting in January.

“I really have felt a weight of responsibility to my community to take a stand with this,” said Tilton. “… I definitely feel like I’ve continued with my job of being a community leader and making a positive difference.”

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 23, 2010 @ 3:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF Castro area police seeking toys for kids

Christmas is just two days away, but it’s not too late to donate toys to children who might not get any otherwise.

Out gay San Francisco Police Sergeant Chuck Limbert, who patrols the largely gay Castro neighborhood and other areas in the Mission District, said police are still accepting toys for the holidays.

Limbert said during the days around Christmas, there’s “nothing sadder” than responding to family domestic disputes and other calls to find there’s no tree in the house, and no gifts. He said in those cases, “officers will come back to the station, pick up toys, and bring them back.”

Toys can be brought to Mission Police Station,  630 Valencia Street.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:54 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Senate passes DADT repeal bill

The Senate today approved a bill to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the 17-year-old law banning openly gay people from serving in the military. The roll call vote on the measure, which came to the Senate Wednesday from the House, was 65-31. It had passed the House 250-175. Because both bills are identical, it now moves to the president’s desk for his signature.

The White House issued a statement, calling the vote “an historic step toward ending a policy that undermines our national security.”

President Barack Obama plans to sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.

The DADT repeal measure does not mean the policy will be repealed immediately.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more coverage in the next issue.

— Cynthia Laird, December 18, 2010 @ 4:52 pm PST
Filed under: News


SF planning body approves Ike’s, Whole Foods for Castro

San Francisco’s Planning Commission has approved two contentious business projects for the Castro area.

The commission’s seven members voted unanimously yesterday (Thursday, December 16) to approve Ike’s Place relocating to 3489 16th Street. The spot is just up the street from the previous store, where neighbors complained about crowds gathering to order Ike’s popular sandwiches.

The commissioners also unanimously approved a proposed mixed-use development project at 2001 Market Street that will include a Whole Foods grocery store. That project has raised concerns over car traffic.

Both projects gained approval after adjustments were made to address the queuing issues.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 17, 2010 @ 6:06 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Newsom wants ‘caretaker’ interim mayor, willing to delay taking state office

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will push back his taking state office if the current Board of Supervisors does not agree to appoint a “caretaker” mayor to replace him.

The lieutenant governor-elect told KCBS radio today that he would be willing to postpone his swearing-in ceremony on January 3 to ensure that a person who intends to seek the job permanently isn’t named the interim mayor.

The current board’s final meeting isn’t until January 4, so should Newsom depart prior to that date the supervisors in office now could appoint his replacement. Should they fail to do so, then Board President David Chiu becomes the de facto mayor until the new, more moderate  board, which will be sworn in January 8, chooses a replacement.

Twice now the current supervisors have punted selecting an interim mayor. A person nominated for the position needs to secure six votes among the 11-member board in order to become interim mayor.

Even if the board had chosen someone, that person would still need to be voted on again once Newsom leaves office for Sacramento. The political posturing and intrigue has consumed City Hall and political junkies across the city and nation.

Until today, Newsom had kept his plans a closely held secret. But he told KCBS he believes he can postpone his swearing in ceremony in order to influence the selection of the new mayor.

“I’ll reserve my right to wait until the new board convenes that will have to deal with the decision and consequences of an interim mayor pick,” Newsom told the local radio station. “I care deeply about who the mayor is and I just want to make sure it’s someone that is not going to take us backwards and is going to create a political firestorm because I’ll feel some sense of accountability to that.”

Newsom went on to say he is concerned that someone to the far left of his political stance would become mayor.

“I can’t just walk away and see everything blow up and there are a few politicians in this town that want to serve on ideological agenda,” Newsom told KCBS. “The board should pick a caretaker, not a politician. That’s my criteria.”

Progressives in recent weeks have been pushing to see openly gay Supervisor David Campos become mayor.

Other names floated include openly gay state Senator Mark Leno, sheriff Michael Hennessey, former Mayor Art Agnos, and openly gay Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed Harrington.

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 3:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Transgender SF woman gets restraining order against ex-DMV worker

A transgender San Francisco woman has obtained a temporary restraining order against the former Department of Motor Vehicles worker who sent her an attack letter in October.

Amber Yust, 23, filed a claim last week against the state DMV after former staffer Thomas Demartini, 39, sent her a letter calling homosexuality an “abomination.” The letter also suggested Yust should be “put to death.” Yust’s claim signifies that she intends to file a lawsuit against the state agency.

San Francisco Superior Court records show the temporary restraining granted yesterday (Thursday, December 16) is a re-issuance.

Demartini, who hasn’t responded to interview requests, resigned Wednesday, December 15, according to the DMV.

Among other conditions, the order prohibits Demartini from contacting Yust and states that he must stay at least 50 yards away from her.

The order was originally issued Tuesday, December 14 but apparently was reissued because of the hearing date being rescheduled. The order is set to end January 5, the new hearing date.

If Demartini violates the orders, he could be face jail time and a fine of up to $1,000.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:39 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Governor Schwarzenegger appoints lawyer involved in the Prop 8 case to judgeship

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today tapped a state lawyer ridiculed for his performance during a hearing on California’s ban against same-sex marriage to a judicial seat.

He appointed Christopher Krueger, 45, of Sacramento, to the Sacramento County Superior Court to fill a vacancy. Krueger, (pictured at right) is a Democrat and will earn $178,789.

He has been serving as the governor’s chief deputy legal affairs secretary since 2009. Previously, he worked for the California Attorney General’s Office as a senior assistant attorney general from 2007 to 2009.

He represented Attorney General Jerry Brown during the state lawsuit filed against the same-sex marriage ban, known as Proposition 8. Brown had taken the position that the anti-gay, voter-approved measure was unconstitutional and should be struck down.

It was Krueger’s job to make that argument before the state Supreme Court. But his performance was widely paned by legal observers. A reporter for the Orange County Register wrote that he “has to rank as the day’s worst speaker so far.”

The court, of course, rejected the Attorney General’s argument and ruled that voters had the right to pass Prop 8. The matter is now before the federal courts, with antigay groups appealing a lower court ruling that Prop 8 violated the U.S. Constitution.

Krueger earned his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is one of many judicial appointments Schwarzenegger has been making before he leaves office January 3.

— Matthew S. Bajko, December 16, 2010 @ 5:00 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Trial in alleged Pink Saturday beating underway in SF

A trial involving a gay man who was allegedly beaten on Pink Saturday is underway.

Ray Tilton shortly after the incident in June

Ray Tilton, 47,  (pictured at left) testified this week that he was shoved to the ground, punched, and kicked outside 440 Castro early Saturday morning, June 26 – the day before San Francisco’s LGBT Pride Parade and celebration.

In opening statements Tuesday, December 14, three of the attorneys for the four defendants said inconsistencies in Tilton and his friends’ statements made them unreliable. They also strongly suggested Tilton and the others had been too drunk to accurately recall what had happened. (The fourth attorney didn’t make an opening statement.)

The defendants – Otis Cooley, 28, of Emeryville; Derek Price, 27, of San Leandro; Laselle Manning, 31, of Mesa, California; and Deonsay Roberts, 19 – have each pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor battery charge.

Tilton, who was Mr. San Francisco Leather in 1990 and lives in Santa Rosa, testified said that he and his friends left for the South of Market neighborhood from the Castro area around 9:30 p.m. on June 25, following a plan to do five drinks and five shots in five bars. He said they got to 440 at around 1:30 a.m., where he had half a beer.

He said, “I was certainly not sober. … But out of my head drunk? No.”

Tilton said soon after they arrived, as the bar was closing, he and his friends were out front socializing when he heard his friend Barry Rogers say, “Did you see that? Somebody tried to yank my chain,” referring to a wallet chain.

He testified that he told Rogers he hadn’t seen what had happened, then “in a flash,” Roberts, who’d been passing by, turned around and punched his friend Michael Cooley.

Tilton, who weighs 250 pounds and is 6 feet, said that he tried to step between the two, but someone grabbed him and shoved him to the ground. He said he then felt as if someone was holding their knee on his back, and he was punched and kicked in the face, head, sides, and back.

He said he was face down and tried to turn his head from side to side to deflect the blows. Most of what he saw was fists and shoes, he said, but he added that the fists belonged to all four defendants. Tilton said he heard “nothing in particular” during the melee.

“It felt like it last forever,” but at the same time, it was “brief,” said Tilton.

He said the punching and kicking stopped and a manager at 440 Castro brought him into the bar. Feeling “disoriented” and “confused,” he soon left the bar with his friends and went to Michael Cooley’s apartment nearby. Tilton said he didn’t know why he didn’t go to the hospital.

“I think I was in shock,” he said

They left Cooley’s apartment and headed to Rogers’ and Arne Valle’s home, where Tilton had planned to stay for the night. Tilton said that as he and his friends walked up 17th Street, they saw the defendants. He recalled asking them if they were going to beat him up again.

The four followed Tilton and his friends to Orphan Andy’s, near 17th and Market streets, where they took refuge, said Tilton. There, Valle called 911 while the defendants sat at a table at Jane Warner Plaza, which is adjacent to the all-night diner.

Police and an ambulance soon arrived, and Tilton has said that he identified all four defendants on the spot. They were cited for misdemeanor battery and released

All four defendants are black, while Tilton and the majority of the jurors appear to be white. None of the jurors appears to be black. In court Tuesday, defendants Roberts and Cooley sported matching magenta fauxhawks.

Samuel Lasser, who’s representing Manning, said Tilton and his friends “were all drunk,” and the jury would need to consider “how drunk you think they were, and how drunk they say they were.”

During her opening statement Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Lilly Nguyen said what happened to Tilton was different from a bar fight, “where fists are flying” and it’s unclear what’s going on.

“This was a beating,” she said.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ronald Albers has said he expects the trial to be completed by Wednesday, December 22.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Anti-trans DMV employee resigns

The state Department of Motor Vehicles employee who sent an attack letter to a transgender San Francisco woman in October resigned yesterday (Wednesday, December 15), a department spokesman said today.

DMV Spokesman Steve Haskins told the Bay Area Reporter that Thomas Demartini’s resignation “in no way diminishes the severity of the situation. [Demartini] acted well outside the scope and course of his duties. We recognize this was unacceptable and wholly unauthorized behavior by this former employee, and the DMV will continue to take measures to ensure that not only all employees act in a professional manner, but that our customers are treated fairly and equitably.”

Asked what exactly the measures he referred to would be, Haskins said, “I don’t know if that’s necessarily been completely worked out, but obviously more training would be a good idea.”

He couldn’t say why Demartini was just now resigning.

“That’s really his decision,” said Haskins, and “something you’d have to go to him for a comment for.” He didn’t know whether Demartini lives in San Francisco. The B.A.R. has been unable to reach the ex-DMV worker.

The DMV still likely faces a lawsuit from Amber Yust, the woman who received a letter from Demartini on October 25 that said, “The homosexual act is an abomination that leads to hell.” Demartini had been on paid administrative leave since October.

According to a claim Yust filed through attorney Christopher Nolan on Thursday, December 9, Yust had gone to the DMV with her court-ordered name change and DMV paperwork with her, and with Demartini’s help had obtained a new driver’s license in her new name.

Demartini’s letter also quotes the Bible as saying, “If anyone lie with a man as with a woman … let them be put to death.

Besides the letter, Yust also received a pamphlet from the Most Holy Family Monestary, which appears to be an ultra-conservative Catholic organization based in Fillmore, New York.

In his letter, Demartini calls Yust’s gender change “evil” and refers her to Most Holy Family’s site for information for her “salvation.” Through the claim, Yust alleges that Demartini provided her address to the monestary.

“This has been a traumatic experience for me and I want to ensure nothing like this happens to anyone else,” Yust said in a statement from Christopher Dolan, her attorney, and Transgender Law Center, which has been assisting her.

According to the statement, Demartini was involved in a similar incident in 2009. At that time, he supposedly refused to assist a transgender woman attempting to change the name on her driver’s license, telling her, “I want to let you know that God will send you to hell!” The DMV apologized for that incident.

Asked why Demartini hadn’t been fired after the 2009 incident, Mike Marando, another DMV spokesman, has said the DMV had taken “appropriate action” at the time, including the Transgender Law Center conducting sensitivity training for all employees.

He said Demartini has worked for the DMV for four years.

“We view this as an isolated incident,” Marando said, referring to Yust’s claim. He said he couldn’t recall a similar incident occurring other than the 2009 case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:04 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Trans woman files claim against DMV

A transgender San Francisco woman is nearing a lawsuit against the California Department of Motor Vehicles after a DMV employee sent her an attack letter.

According to her claim, which was filed Thursday, December 9, by attorney Christopher Dolan, Amber Yust received a     letter from Thomas Demartini, the DMV employee who’d helped her, on October 25. The letter, which was filed along with the claim, said, “The homosexual act is an abomination that leads to hell.”

Yust had gone to the DMV with her court-ordered name change and DMV paperwork with her, and with Demartini’s help had obtained a new driver’s license in her new name.

The letter also quotes the Bible as saying, “If anyone lie with a man as with a woman … let them be put to death.”

Besides the letter, Yust also received a pamphlet from the Most Holy Family Monestary, which appears to be an ultra-conservative Catholic organization based in Fillmore, New York.

In his letter, Demartini calls Yust’s gender change “evil” and refers her to Most Holy Family’s site for information for her “salvation.” Through the claim, Yust alleges that Demartini provided her address to the monestary.

“This has been a traumatic experience for me and I want to ensure nothing like this happens to anyone else,” Yust said in a statement from Christopher Dolan, her attorney, and Transgender Law Center, which has been assisting her.

According to the statement, Demartini was involved in a similar incident in 2009. At that time, he supposedly refused to assist a transgender woman attempting to change the name on her driver’s license, telling her, “I want to let you know that God will send you to hell!” The DMV apologized for that incident.

Demartini couldn’t be reached for comment.

DMV Mike Marando said in an interview that immediately following the October incident, Demartini was put on paid administrative leave pending completion of the investigation.

“The alleged actions of the employee were unauthorized, outside the course and scope of this employee’s duties, and expressly prohibited by departmental policy,” said Marando.

Asked why Demartini hadn’t been fired after the 2009 incident, Marando said the DMV had taken “appropriate action” at the time, including the Transgender Law Center conducting sensitivity training for all employees.

He said Demartini has worked for the DMV for four years.

Marando told the Bay Area Reporter last month that Demartini had been removed from the DMV office on Fell Street. At that time, Marando indicated Demartini hadn’t been fired, and said Demartini hadn’t resigned, but wouldn’t say whether he’d been suspended.

Marando said last week that he couldn’t say when the investigation would be complete. He said generally, if the charges are proved,  employees can face termination, demotion, or suspension.

“We view this as an isolated incident,” Marando said, referring to Yust’s claim. He said he couldn’t recall a similar incident occurring other than the 2009 case.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 15, 2010 @ 4:47 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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