Hate crimes statistics are now being collected in Baton Rouge!
In July 2013, a meeting between Capital City Alliance leadership and Sheriff Sid Gautreaux generated a number a productive solutions in the wake of reports that the Sheriff’s department was making arrests that targeted the LGBT community using unconstitutional “crimes against nature” laws. The Sheriff assured Capital City Alliance (CCA) that he would work with legislators to get that portion of the law removed from the Louisiana law, in addition to a number of other resolutions to improve the relationship between his department and the Baton Rouge LGBT community.
As of January 1, 2014, the Sheriff’s department will collect information on hate crimes occurring in Baton Rouge, including those that are motivated by biases regarding sexual orientation. This is the first time that these figures will be reported to the Justice Department for East Baton Rouge Parish.
In addition to this new development, the Sheriff has also notified the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association (LSA) that his department would no longer be enforcing the crimes against nature statute. Additionally, the Sheriff has appointed Casey Rayborn Hicks as the LGBT liaison in the Sheriff’s office. Ms. Hicks will act as a point person for community concerns.
Capital City Alliance and Equality Louisiana are continuing to work with the Sheriff to have gender identity added to the department’s EO statement and to incorporate training curriculum for deputies informed by research and best practices in reference to fairness and equality for the LGBT community.
The steps the Sheriff has taken to ensure that the LGBT community is sufficiently protected and not unjustly targeted or arrested is heartening. We are continuing to work with the Sheriff and look forward to his support in all attempts to repeal this law during the 2014 legislative session.