South Carolina: Columbia police officers defy orders to march in Pride parade

Based on “religious beliefs,” two Columbia, SC, police officers defied orders and went over their police chief’s head:

Santiago had ordered a lieutenant and sergeant to join eight other officers in last Saturday’s parade even though they cited religious beliefs in their opposition. On the day of the parade, City Manager Teresa Wilson and her assistant met with Santiago and reached an agreement to make participation in the parade voluntary since there were then enough officers to march.

The police chief says not following direct orders and going around the chief sets bad precedent.

“An officer cannot choose their assignments based on their religious beliefs. When you have a police department that really values strict discipline and adherence and obedience to directives, the Chief of Police is the person they look toward for that direction. Any department that expects to instill public trust, must demonstrate that by being visible to the public.”

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott agrees:

“A chief or sheriff has to be able to make the decisions, a person that works underneath him are not going to respect them if they don’t have the ability to make decisions, and I think that’s a problem with the Columbia Police Department, not just now but for many many years/” – Columbia, South Carolina |

Reese Witherspoon to police officer: “Do you know my name?”

Reese Witherspoon apparently got into a bit of trouble last Friday as her husband was stopped by a police officer for driving while intoxicated after apparently swerving in and out of his lane.

Husband Jim Toth blew 0.139 on the Breathalyzer test, the report said, and was charged with driving under the influence.

During the traffic stop, reports say Witherspoon got out of her car more than once after being told to stay put by the officer.  Eventually, the “Walk The Line” star addressed the officer and said “Do you know my name?” She also said: “You’re about to find out who I am” and
“You’re about to be on national news,” according to the report.

Oh dear.  No one ever comes out on the other side of that line well, do they?

Reese was charged with disorderly conduct.  She has since stated “I clearly had one drink too many and I am deeply embarrassed about the things I said.”

More at Newsday.

Austin Police Department – It Gets Better

The Lesbian & Gay Peace Officers Association produced a video comprising of LGBT officers and civilian members of the Austin Police Department to send a message to LGBTQ youth that it does get better.

This is part of the It Gets Better Project and The Trevor Project to reach out to LGBTQ youth who may be struggling due to bullying, harassment, and non-acceptance, and who may be thinking of committing suicide.

The message is to let those youth know that even though it is difficult today, tomorrow will bring hope, love, and life.  Help is here to get you there.

As a native Texan who spent my summers in Austin (one of my favorite cities) I’m so proud of this video.  These folks did an amazing job of communicating not only the struggles of the journey of coming out, but the pride and joy you feel when it finally “gets better” and you can accept and love yourself.

Great job guys!