Reposted from a story on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 By: John Zaremba
Transgender criminal suspects can demand that cops call them by their adopted names, choose whether male or female officers frisk them and get a personal, private ride to court under new policies unveiled by Boston police Commissioner Edward F. Davis yesterday.
“Our main goal is that everyone should be treated equally, and everyone should be treated with respect and dignity, whether you’re at the front desk or on the other side of the front desk,” said officer Javier Pagan, the Boston Police Department’s liaison to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. “Everyone should be treated with the same respect.”
The new regs come five months after the Boston Police Department coughed up $20,000 to settle a federal suit brought by Brenda Wernikoff, a transgender woman arrested in May 2010 for using the women’s bathroom at a homeless shelter. The suit said cops forced Wernikoff to strip and “ordered Ms. Wernikoff to jump up and down, causing her breasts to jiggle.”
The policies require cops to:
• “address transgender individuals by the individual’s adopted name … even if the individual has not received legal recognition of the adopted name”;
• “respectfully ask the individual” when they are “uncertain about which pronouns are appropriate”;
• ask transgender suspects whether they prefer a frisk by male or female officers.
“It’s just easier that way,” Pagan said. “If a person lives their life as a female and they feel more comfortable having a female search them — and we’re not talking about strip searches, we’re just talking about pat-downs — if they feel more comfortable having a female do it, then that way you’re sort of just giving them their dignity.”
The new rules also require that all suspect searches “will be conducted by two officers of the gender requested by the transgender prisoner, whenever possible.” If that’s not possible, the policies say, “the search shall nonetheless be conducted by two available officers.”
Transgender prisoners will be transported and jailed alone “whenever possible,” according to the policies. “Officers shall ensure that additional units are called in order to assist with transporting transgender individuals.”
Pagan said the rules have been in development for several years and are mod- eled after similar policies in Chicago and Washing-ton, D.C.
“When the powers that be have to start shelling out money, things maintain value. In other words, now, the way you treat or mistreat somebody has a value to it,” Wernikoff told the Herald last night. “Financial exposure — that’s the only thing that moves them. Common sense, logic and reason don’t seem to work. Money seems to be the correct vehicle.”