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Police deliberately destroy lesbian’s military career out of spite

Timothy Kincaid

March 15th, 2010

Sometimes I get so angry that it is hard to type. Now is one of those times.

Sgt. Jene Newsome is a lesbian who played the Military’s don’t ask, don’t tell game. She kept her private life private and did not tell her employer that she’s gay. She did, however, enter a relationship with another woman and married her. And the woman she married had a problem with the law.

And when the police came knocking for her wife, Newsome wasn’t home. (AP)

Newsome was at work at the base at the time and refused to immediately come home and assist the officers in finding her partner, whom she married in Iowa — where gay marriage is legal — in October.

Well, now, wait a minute. They are the police. And in Rapid City that means that all you non-officer scum jump when they yell “frog”. Ya know, to protect a serve and all that.

And since Newsome didn’t jump high enough, they decided that they would choose to destroy her life.
allender

Police officers, who said they spotted the marriage license on the kitchen table through a window of Newsome’s home, alerted the base, police Chief Steve Allender said in a statement sent to the AP.

Newsome was discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t annoy the local police in any way.

Oh, but they have their reasons. Yesirreee.

As you read the following, remember that Newsome’s only crime was “not being cooperative”. That is her only connection to “the case”. She was not involved in the theft, and the Air Force was only tangential.

The license was relevant to the investigation because it showed both the relationship and residency of the two women, he said.

“It’s an emotional issue and it’s unfortunate that Newsome lost her job, but I disagree with the notion that our department might be expected to ignore the license, or not document the license, or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it,” Allender said Saturday. “It was a part of the case, part of the report and the Air Force was privileged to the information.”

Now ask yourself if that makes any sense whatsoever. Would a straight couple’s marriage license require “alerting the base” about the sexual orientation of a heterosexual? Or is police Chief Steve Allender just trying to justify an act that is based in the most vile of bigotries, callousness, and abuse of power?

You bet it’s an emotional issue, Mr. Allender. Because you decided to destroy someone’s life. And that makes me emotional.

But I guess you showed us, didn’t you, Mr. Allender. We all better jump next time you say “frog”.

Comments

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UMJeremy
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

There are some actions that are ignorant, misguided, or acting out of fear. This one is just…plain….MEAN! Argh!

DN
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

“Police officers, who said they spotted the marriage license on the kitchen table through a window of Newsome’s home, alerted the base, police Chief Steve Allender said in a statement sent to the AP.”

Riiiight… the cops were skulking outside Newsome’s windows and, using their go-go-gadget-microfiche-readers, were able to read a marriage certificate laying on the kitchen table.

Congratulations, officers: you’ve ruined two peoples’ lives. You’ve really stuck up for Justice here, haven’t you?

Eddie89
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Would something like this EVER happen to a “straight”, heterosexual married couple?

Isn’t one of the 1,138 federal rights, benefits and legal protections that you don’t have to testify against your spouse?

Or assist the law in prosecuting your spouse?

So, they happen to “spot” the marriage license through the kitchen window. Wow! These cops must have some super, duper eye sight to be able to see something like that, be able to read it’s contents and then “report” it to the local base.

Candace
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

I hope she has a good lawyer…. because to successfully defend against a legal action, the police department will have to prove that they report ALL marriages, both gay and straight, to military authorities whenever one of the married pair is investigated for a crime.

Good luck with that, police bigots.

Frijondi
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

I have my doubts about the license being on the kitchen table. Sure, some people take a long time to file important documents, but come on. It wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out the police asked some questions around the neighborhood, did an illegal search, and then made up a little story.

Aaron
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Surely the police can be sued for the potential earnings of the rest of her career?

Fred in the UK
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

I have a question. In the US are the Police under a general duty to inform their military counterparts when they happen to come across something that is is not an infringement of Civilian Law but they believe it may be against Military Law?

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Fred,

The civilian police have no obligation to inform the military of persons whom they know or suspect to be gay.

If the person has committed a crime or if there is an investigation against that person in which it is a relevant matter, then the military is informed.

For example, Air Force Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach was accused of rape by a man with mental health issues. Because there was an investigation, the Air Force was rightly informed (he was cleared of the accusations but was discharged due to DADT).

But in this case, there was – to the best of my knowledge – neither an obligation or even a cause for Allender to report Newsome’s marriage status. In my opinion, this was pure vindictiveness justified by bigotry.

Brieuse
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Sounds like a human rights abuse to me

Mel
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

“Newsome’s only crime was ‘not being cooperative’.”

Isn’t there a specific statement in the Constitution that prevents a person from having to testify against his/her spouse? I believe it is foundational as the attorney/client privilege.

Candace
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Mel, you’re thinking of the 5th Amendment, which keeps a person from testifying against themself in a court of law. The closest appropriate rule in this case would be that of spousal immunity, which allows a spouse to refuse to testify against their partner in legal proceedings. That isn’t even the issue, though, since neither spouse testified against each other. The police clearly abused their authority and jurisdiction in this case and I’m wondering if they even had a search warrant for the property in question or if they were just snooping around looking in windows and upon seeing the marriage license (if that even happened,) used it is a way to screw over the Sgt. for her “noncompliance.”

AFAIK, sopusal immunity doesn’t extend to refusing to inform police of the wherabouts of a spouse if directly questioned during a police investigation. That’s obstruction of justice. (Of course, if you don’t know, you don’t know. They have to prove you lied when you claimed you didn’t know.) It just means you can’ be forced to testify in court– although you can do so voluntarily.

It’s a shame that the only cops we ever hear about are the anti-gay, homophobic jerks. I’m sure there are lots and lots of cops who DON’T abuse people because of their sexual orientation. Too bad the jerks are always in the spotlight.

Regan DuCasse
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Here I sit, where in my city of Los Angeles, our law enforcement corps is seriously being compromised due to budget problems.

Of ALL the things that could occupy a cop’s time, nosing around a LAW ABIDING soldier’s home would be low on the priority list.
Or on it at all.

I mean, this woman IS A SOLDIER. A volunteer in the protection of her country, and these cops chose THIS citizen to pick on?!

Yep, spite…spite all the way and if there are anti gay people that think our country, standards of moral character are BETTERED by spite, then let’s see the proof of betterment.

Does this cop get a pat on the head for a ‘job well done?’ He landed SUCH a big fish.

Right.
Assholes.

Fred in the UK
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Timothy,

Many thanks for the reply. Just for information, if nothing else, am I correct in understanding you that if the police become aware of something that is not a crime under civilian law but they believe it may be against military law they are not under an obligation for inform their military counterparts, even if it is not sexual orientation related?

Pete H
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Good one, Chief. I’m sure that had you been around 70 years ago, the Gestapo or SS would have found your methods very useful.

Timothy Kincaid
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Fred,

Being a lesbian is not a crime under military law – or at least one that is enforced.

It is a cause for termination, not a criminal matter. As such, there would be no cause for Allender to report her, except for his nasty vengefulness.

Grant
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks for giving this coverage. I’ve seen it on other sites as well. I hope it goes mainstream. It’s just outrageous – the actions of the police department here. Bigots.

And here my partner and I were considering a trip to see Mt. Rushmore this summer (Rapid City is the closest airport/majore town).

Strike that one from the list…

soren456
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

@Fred in the UK:

Since no law was broken, the police would have no “duty” to report what they saw in their window peeping; without doubt, they chose to report it simply to cause trouble.

To claim otherwise is disingenuous at best. And cowardly. And, I suspect, racist in the bargain.

Apparently, window-peeping IS legal behavior for the police?

I’d love to read otherwise, but doubt that I will.

Fred in the UK
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks to Timothy and Soren456 for your replies. I was about to argue with soren456, pointing out that DADT (10 U.S.C. § 654)is a law and that the civilian police would not be in a position to determine whether Newsome was or was not in actual breach of it. However in searching for evidence to support my argument I read the actual text of DADT. I was most interested to read that it only states the nature of some of regulations to be prescribed by the Secretary of Defence. Newsome could only ever be in breach of those regulations not DADT itself.

I stand both corrected and better informed.

WMDKitty
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

“Apparently, window-peeping IS legal behavior for the police?”

Oh, but if J. Average Citizen were window-peeping, he’d be arrested for it….

Damn. Lousy. Cops.

Burr
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Something smells of enormous BS here.. I really doubt it was right there in the window for them to read so easily.

They should be hounding this prick in the media until he resigns in disgrace. It’s only fair after all.

lurker
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

Thanks, Candace, for the explanation. I was curious about that, too.

Someone on a San Francisco Chronicle blog noted that there’s a big discrepancy between how the military treats gay outings and consensual adultery. The commenter said that consensual “spouse-swapping” was common in their branch of the military and is routinely ignored, even though adultery is a criminal charge under military law.

Richard W. Fitch
March 15th, 2010 | LINK

This story seems to have a multitude of variations. One blurb I read seemed to indicate that the police were indeed inside the home with a warrant which had been issued to search for evidence of drug violations. They were searching a desk drawer when the license was found. This was a few days ago before the story was all over the place, so not sure of its validity – just saying….

AdrianT
March 16th, 2010 | LINK

This is an outrage. The only way to make thugs like Steven Allender see sense is to make them realize there will be consequences for their bullying. They need to know they cannot get away with it.

A grass roots campaign to drive Allender out of his job and out of the police force is necessary, to protect GLBT people of South Dakota in future. I hope the community there might organize petitions and public protests. ‘An eye for an eye’ as they say.

Rob
March 18th, 2010 | LINK

Spotted it through the window? I find that hard to believe. Start looking into whether there were any illegal searches or accessing of private information.

werdna
March 18th, 2010 | LINK

Candace wrote: “AFAIK, sopusal immunity doesn’t extend to refusing to inform police of the wherabouts of a spouse if directly questioned during a police investigation. That’s obstruction of justice.”

Is this correct? My understanding (and IANAL, so I may be mistaken) is that one is not required to answer any questions (other than identifying yourself) put to you by police. Obviously refusing to talk to the police may make them suspicious, but does it rise to the level of obstruction? I thought obstruction requires active effort (lying, destroying evidence, etc.), but that refusing to cooperate was entirely within our rights.

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