Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 34 / 25 August 2016

New US DOJ video shows law enforcement how to work with trans community

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 1.31.02 PMThe U.S. Department of Justice Thursday (August 25) released a training video that shows law enforcement officers how they should work with transgender people so that interactions are “respectful, professional and safe for all involved.”

The video includes three non-emergency situations showing officers talking to transgender women. Two of the interactions go smoothly, but in one, an officer laughs at a trans crime victim and uses the wrong pronoun. Another officer corrects him, and he apologizes.

Terms such as “assigned sex” and “gender identity” are explained. In a news release, DOJ officials said, “Understanding the terminology and the major issues facing the transgender community can help rebuild trust and ensure that encounters are safe for all parties. The video also emphasizes the importance of distinguishing between a threat and a stereotype, and notes that individuals who feel disrespected are less likely to have faith in or cooperate with law enforcement.”

In San Francisco, transgender people have often expressed mistrust of police.

Paul Monteiro, acting director of the DOJ’s Community Relation Service stated, “Transgender Americans, like all Americans, deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect by law enforcement officers. The information provided in this video will help strengthen the relationship between police and the transgender community, allowing for more effective investigations and safer encounters for officers and citizens alike.”


— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 25, 2016 @ 1:27 pm PST
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Three robbed at gunpoint in Castro

Photo: Rick Gerharter

Photo: Rick Gerharter

A man robbed three women at gunpoint early Sunday morning in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Police said the incident occurred at 2:10 a.m. when a red four-door vehicle pulled up to the women, who were walking near Hattie and 18th streets.

The man got out of the vehicle, pulled out a small silver handgun, and demanded the women’s property. The women complied, and the man got into the passenger side of the vehicle, which fled west on 18th.

The suspect took two purses, two cellphones, two wallets, a U.S. passport, cash, and a backpack, police said.

Police described the suspect only as a black male who’s 20 to 25 years old.

The women weren’t injured. Two of them are 23, and one is 24.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 24, 2016 @ 11:15 am PST
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Nude Trump statue delights at Castro

(Passersby snap photos of the naked Donald Trump statue in the Castro. Photo: Steven Underhill)

(Passersby snap photos of the naked Donald Trump statue in the Castro. Photo: Steven Underhill)

Someone erected a nude statue of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Thursday in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood, delighting – or repulsing – passersby who spent the day taking photos of it.

Similar Trump statues made appearances in Los Angeles, Seattle, and New York City.

No word on who the artist is, but presumably it’s protest art.

— Cynthia Laird, August 18, 2016 @ 4:25 pm PST
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Green guilty of murder in 2013 death

(Michael Sione Green. Photo: Courtesy SFPD)

(Michael Sione Green. Photo: Courtesy SFPD)

A jury in San Francisco Thursday (August 18) convicted Michael Sione Green, 26, of murder in the 2013 shooting death of Melquiesha “Mel” Warren, 23.

Warren, a lesbian, was shot after a minor collision in a parking lot near the gay Club OMG nightclub November 17, 2013. A friend who was with her was also shot but survived.

Green, who was also convicted of attempted murder, among other charges, laid his head on the table in front of him as the verdicts were read. He is set to be sentenced November 1. He faces a sentence of at least 82 years in prison.

The trial started July 13. Jurors deliberated for almost three days.

In a phone call later Thursday with the Bay Area Reporter, Amanda Buckley, 43, Warren’s mother, said, “He took my daughter’s life, now the state’s taking his life.”

The B.A.R. will have more on this story in the August 25 issue.

— Cynthia Laird, @ 3:19 pm PST
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Motorcycle cop injured in Castro collision

A San Francisco police officer sustained non-life threatening injuries Wednesday when a car rear-ended the motorcycle he was riding, according to police.

The officer, who was traveling west on 16th Street, stopped at a traffic light at Sanchez around 3:15 p.m. A 30-year-old man driving a black Chrysler “failed to stop and with the front end” of his car “contacted the rear end” of the officer’s motorcycle, Officer Carlos Manfredi, a police spokesman, said in a summary. The Chrysler’s driver wasn’t arrested.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:01 pm PST
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Two robbed in Duboce Triangle, Mission

Photo: SFMTA

Photo: SFMTA

Two people were robbed in recent incidents in San Francisco’s Duboce Triangle and the nearby Mission district.

The first robbery occurred at 5:50 a.m. Sunday when three suspects ran up to a man at Church Street and Duboce Avenue and demanded his belongings. When the victim refused, one of the suspects produced a black, semi-automatic handgun. The victim then complied, and the suspects fled with the man’s cash to a waiting gold SUV with out-of-state license plates, Officer Carlos Manfredi, a police spokesman, said in a summary.

The 32-year-old victim was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Manfredi didn’t say what the man’s injuries were.

The suspects were described only as three black males. One appeared to be 25. The ages of the other two weren’t known.

The second incident happened at 8:18 p.m. Sunday when a teenager approached a woman who was talking on her cellphone in the 100 block of Duboce, forced the phone from her hand, and fled, Manfredi said.

The woman, who’s 33, wasn’t injured.

The teen is described only as a black male who’s 16-17 years old.

No arrests have been made in either case. Anyone with information in the cases may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number for the first incident is 160 655 264. The number for the second case is 160 650 113.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 11:12 am PST
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Ex-Obama official joins San Francisco AIDS Foundation board

Douglas Brooks

Douglas Brooks

Douglas Brooks, who served in the Obama administration as director of the White House Office of National AIDS Policy, has joined the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s board of directors, the nonprofit announced Friday.

In comments emailed to the Bay Area Reporter, Brooks, who was ONAP director from 2014 until this year, said he joined the board because “The world is looking to San Francisco and San Francisco AIDS Foundation right now. San Francisco is poised to be the first city to end HIV transmission, and the foundation – together with its partners – is working to achieve that vision.”

SFAF has a key role in the Getting to Zero initiative, which seeks to reduce HIV transmissions and HIV-related deaths in the city by 90 percent before 2020.

Brooks, who’s gay, also said that he’s “inspired by the vision” of Joe Hollendoner, who became SFAF’s CEO this year.

“We’re both social workers by trade and share an understanding of the many social determinants of health that can marginalize members of our community and put them at risk for HIV,” Brooks said. “As we work to bring people in from the margins, not only do we improve health outcomes but we also create a more diverse, inclusive, and loving community.”

Hollendoner stated, “We must create a system of care where nobody slips through the cracks and everyone feels supported, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or socioeconomic status. I’m passionate about this work, and I know Douglas is too. I’m excited for him to bring his perspective both as a social worker and the country’s top HIV policy expert to the conversation.”

Philip Besirof, SFAF’s board chair, said, “We were inspired by Douglas’ work at the White House to expand the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to include disproportionately impacted communities such as young gay African American men and transgender women. We’re having similar conversations on the board and welcome his thoughtful approach and deep experience in this area.”

With a budget of $32 million and thousands of clients, SFAF is one of the largest AIDS-based organizations in the country.

Brooks, who recently moved to San Francisco, said he’s staying temporarily in the Mission Bay neighborhood (where he recommends the new Spark food truck park.)

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 17, 2016 @ 2:44 pm PST
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Trans woman attacked in hate crime near Westfield Mall

Westfield Mall (Photo:

Westfield Mall (Photo:

A transgender woman was attacked Saturday near San Francisco’s Westfield Mall in an incident that police are investing as a hate crime.

The incident occurred at 9:15 p.m. as the woman left the mall near Market and Fourth streets and walked past the male suspect, who “called her a ‘tranny'” and struck her “on the back of her heard with a wooden stick,” Officer Carlos Manfredi, a police spokesman, said in an interview and written summary.

Manfredi said the suspect, who hasn’t been arrested, is a white male between the ages of 18 and 20 who was wearing “grungy, baggy clothing.”

The victim, who’s 49, suffered a bump on the back of her head but declined to be taken to a hospital. Nothing was taken during the incident.

Anyone with information in the cases may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 160 655 678.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 1:36 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man released from hospital after Castro incident

Thomas Castellani in photos posted to his Gofundme page

Thomas Castellani in photos posted to his Gofundme page

A gay man who was hospitalized after an incident that occurred when he left the Cafe bar in San Francisco’s Castro district Thursday said he doesn’t know what happened.

Thomas Castellani, 45, suffered injuries to his face shortly after he left the Cafe, where he’d been singing karaoke “shortly after midnight.”

Whatever occurred “happened so fast, I was just knocked unconscious,” Castellani, who’s a bouncer at the Castro’s Badlands bar, told the Bay Area Reporter. He was released from the hospital Friday.

He said, “I’ve been assaulted at work before,” but “I’m 6 foot 6. I’m not the type of guy you would normally walk up to and attack.”

Castellani also said he’d only had a two drinks before he left the bar.

“I try not to drink while I’m doing karaoke. I’m trying to build my confidence,” he said.

Castellani’s looking for people who witnessed the incident, and he’s planned to meet with police Tuesday afternoon so a report could be filed.

In a Gofundme fundraising pitch for Castellani, Julia DePetrillo, his sister, said he’d been “gay bashed and left bleeding” as he left work in San Francisco’s Castro district early Thursday morning.

Castellani “had to have emergency surgery to basically re-attach his fractured jaw to his skull as well as other unpleasant fractured and broken details,” DePetrillo wrote. As of Tuesday afternoon, $4,350 had been raised toward a $5,000 goal.

[Update August 17]: Officer Carlos Manfredi, a police spokesman, said Wednesday that the incident is not being investigated as a hate crime.

“No witnesses came forward and said the person who hit him made a derogatory statement,” Manfredi said.

A witness reported that Castellani was “struck with his own helmet,” he said.

No suspect description was available, but the incident occurred near Castro and 17th streets, which is close to the Café and Jane Warner Plaza, and police are looking for video surveillance footage that may have captured the incident.

Anyone with information in the cases may call the SFPD anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444. People may also text a tip to TIP411. Type SFPD in the subject line. The incident number is 160 662 576 [End update].

Depetrillo included a post to Castellani’s Facebook page that said, “You can bash my face but you will not get my spirit, you can not take the love that has been given to me from all of you. I am unafraid I only feel blessings. I will heal and I will still be beautiful. You have done nothing but brought bad karma and the promise of a long stay in hell. Your hatred and evil have only wrapped me in so much love from all around me, you have only increased my spiritual wealth.”

The incident was first covered by Hoodline.

Depetrillo said on the Gofundme site that she started the fundraising effort because Castellani “would never ask for help from anyone so here I am, asking for him.”

“He had big plans for this year and has padded his work schedule for the past year to afford them and now is missing a ton of work because of someone’s violent hatred of him being his beautiful queer self,” she said.

Anyone who may have witnessed what occurred to Castellani may contact him directly at

— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 16, 2016 @ 1:19 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Navy secretary to oversee Milk ship naming ceremony in SF

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus will be in San Francisco Tuesday, August 16 to preside over the ship naming ceremony in honor of Harvey Milk.

According to a news release from the Harvey Milk Foundation, Mabus will announce during the ceremony that the second ship of the next generation of fleet replenishment oilers (T-AO 206) will be named the USNS Harvey Milk after the civil and human rights leader who became one of the first openly LGBT elected officials in the U.S. when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

(Harvey Milk in his Navy days. Photo: Courtesy GLBT Historic Task Force San Diego)

(Harvey Milk in his Navy days. Photo: Courtesy GLBT Historic Task Force San Diego)

Milk was assassinated a year later, in November 1978, by disgruntled ex-supervisor Dan White, who also killed then-Mayor George Moscone.

Milk served in the U.S. Navy and was on active duty during the Korean War. He trained as a deep-sea diver, and advanced to the rank of chief petty officer on the USS Kittiwake, according to a bio created by the organizers of the campaign to push for a USS Harvey Milk Navy vessel.

“Uncle Harvey knew that our individual actions of open authenticity would be the key to changing the lives of LGBT people everywhere,” said Stuart Milk, the gay nephew of Milk and co-founder of the foundation. “As a proud Navy veteran, Uncle Harvey was committed to public service, aided by courage, persistence, and the belief that our shared journey is enriched, and not weakened, by our diversity.”

Joining Mabus at the Treasure Island ceremony will be Mayor Ed Lee, and Kevin Faulconer, the mayor of San Diego, where the ship will be built. Other guests include Nancy Brinker, former U.S. ambassador to Hungary and a member of the Harvey Milk Foundation’s leadership and advisory board, and Anne Kronenberg, who was Milk’s campaign manager and political aide and a co-founder of the foundation.

The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will also perform.

The ceremony takes place from 2 to 3 p.m. on the Great Lawn.

The Bay Area Reporter will have coverage of the ceremony in next week’s paper.

— Cynthia Laird, August 11, 2016 @ 3:49 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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