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|Atlanta Police, City Councilmember Alex Wan plan LGBT town hall forum|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|July 16, 2010 12:40|
Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan is joining forces with the Atlanta Police Department to hold a town hall meeting to address concerns in the LGBT community about a recent rash of anti-gay crimes.
The meeting is set for Thursday, July 22, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Inman Middle School.
On hand for the meeting will be APD Chief George Turner and Senior Patrol Officer Patricia Powell, the police department’s LGBT liaison.
The July 2 attack of a gay couple in Piedmont Park, classified by the APD as a bias crime, is one of the reasons for holding the town hall forum, Wan said in a press release. Wan represents District 6, which includes Midtown and the park.
“These attacks are disturbing, and I want to make certain my constituents – and others in the GLBT community – are able to ask questions they need to protect themselves,” Wan said.
A transgender woman was also attacked on July 9 and a state parole officer, whose vehicle was located in the parking lot of the gay bar the Atlanta Eagle, was found severely beaten and is in a medically induced coma at Grady Hospital. The APD has made an arrest in the case of the beaten parole officer.
In a statement, Turner, who was recently named as Mayor Kasim Reed’s pick for the top police post, said it is the APD’s job to ensure the safety of all of Atlanta’s residents.
“The Atlanta Police Department has a responsibility to keep all of our citizens safe,” Turner said.
“Part of what makes Atlanta great is its diversity. The gay community has made many wonderful contributions to our city, and we want to be sure their voice is heard on public safety matters. We encourage them to engage us on how we can best help them stay safe."
Powell and the APD are also in the process of forming an LGBT Advisory Board.
Rev. Josh Noblitt, one of the victims in the July 2 attack in Piedmont Park, is planning a picnic this Sunday, July 18, beginning at 3 p.m. at the park as a way to bring the community together.
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