Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-08-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Gay man files federal civil rights suit after homophobic attacks, home burned
From a press release
2017-08-08

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


OKLAHOMA CITY—Yesterday, Randy Gamel-Medler, an Oklahoma gay man, filed a federal equal protection lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma against nine defendants from Blaine County, Oklahoma, including Mayor of Hitchcock Rick Edsall, Sheriff of Blaine County Tony Almaguer, and Undersheriff of Blaine County David Robertson. The lawsuit also includes state law claims for assault, battery, destruction of real and personal property, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The complaint details months of police and government inaction in response to racist and homophobic threats and harassment.

"When our family moved to the town of Hitchcock in rural Oklahoma we thought we were buying our last house, we wanted to know our neighbors by their first names and grow old together, but we were soon met with hatred, suspicion, and discrimination," said plaintiff Randy Gamel-Medler. "We were terrorized, murder threats were made against our seven year-old African-American son. Town officials conspired to run us out of office, all while local law enforcement ignored our pleas for help. We are now left with the last 27 years of our life literally erased. What do we do now?"

Gamel-Medler, a white gay man with a seven year-old African-American son, was first threatened in September 2016 at a town council meeting only one month after moving to Hitchcock, Oklahoma. Upon learning that Gamel-Medler had an African-American son, defendant Meradith Norris, a town of Hitchcock Trustee, asked, "What's going to happen when your house burns down and we don't send out the fire trucks?" In response, Gamel-Medler filed a police report, but no criminal action was taken.

"We must not forget that after years of progress, crimes of bias still exist. The allegations in Hitchcock are horrific, and show the intersection of hate aimed at the both the African-American and LGBTQ Communities. Freedom Oklahoma stands with all victims of bias, and will work vigilantly to ensure the state of Oklahoma passes Bias-Crime Protections for all Oklahomans," said Freedom Oklahoma Executive Director Troy Stevenson.

In early May 2017, Gamel-Medler was performing his duties as town clerk by clearing an obstruction from the road when he was assaulted by defendant Jonita Pauls Jacks, who tried to enter Gamel-Medler's truck and then after realizing it was locked began shaking the truck, called him a "f***ing queer," and stated, "I'm going to grab your little boy, rip his n***er head off, and sh** down his throat." When Gamel-Medler attempted to file a police report after this incident, he was informed that the mayor had already described this incident to the police. The Deputy Sheriff refused to take a report, said that this is just how these folks are, and characterized the incident as free speech.

"This abhorrent incident underscores the urgent need for our communities and public officials to commit to combatting the epidemic of hate-based violence that continues to plague too many in the LGBTQ community," said Robin Maril, HRC's Associate Legal Director. "No family should have to fear for their safety because of who they are or whom they love. LGBTQ people in Oklahoma and around the nation need action. We must demand training to ensure that law enforcement officials have the tools they need to partner with LGBTQ community-members and to swiftly respond to hate crimes with sensitivity. Adoption of mandatory reporting requirements for hate-crime statistics coupled with the passage of statewide LGBTQ-inclusive hate crimes and non-discrimination protections are also essential to ending this violence. Our hearts go out to the Medler family during this incredibly difficult time."

Over the next several weeks, the complaint states that one or more of the defendants threw gravel several times at Gamel-Medler's home, posted a sign outside of the post office stating that "the town clerk is a "f***ing queer," and attempted to run a friend of Gamel-Medler's off of the road.

"No family should live in fear or have to endure harassment and threats based on racism and homophobia," said Shannon Price Minter, legal director at LGBTQ national legal organization NCLR. "We must hold those government officials, members of law enforcement, and others accountable."

On May 28, the complaint notes that Gamel-Medler heard the sound of glass breaking in his garage and called the Sheriff's office to report a burglary. He then saw a fire in his garage and called the fire department. Despite the fire department being located one block away from Gamel-Medler's home, the fire department failed to arrive until the house had burned to the ground. While the house was burning, a number of the named defendants watched it burn, including Mayor of Hitchcock Rick Edsall, who sat and watched with his family in lawn chairs.

"The horrific treatment of this man and his child are a terrible reminder of how hatred and bigotry feed off of each other. I hope this lawsuit will bring justice for him and social awareness for everyone," said the attorney on this case, Mark Hammons of Hammons, Gowens, Hurst, & Associates.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Hate Crime Summit Wednesday, Oct. 25 2017-08-18 - A Hate Crime Summit will be convened Wednesday, Oct. 25, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the University of Illinois at Chicago ( UIC ) ...


Gay News

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Condemns Trump's Proposed Transgender Military Ban 2017-08-18 - WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ), the nation's largest organization of LGBT military spouses and their families, ...


Gay News

Trans advocates discuss military ban 2017-08-16 - Officials from the Trans United Fund, an advocacy working on behalf of transgender and gender-expansive individuals and their allies, and SPART*A, an organization ...


Gay News

Hate-crimes summit Oct. 25 2017-08-16 - In Chicago, a coalition of community advocates, government agencies and law-enforcement officials will take part Wed., Oct. 25, in the Chicago Commission on ...


Gay News

National roundup: Trans-ban responses, NYC beating, History Month Icons 2017-08-15 - The American Military Partner Association ( AMPA ) responded to comments made by President Donald Trump regarding the service of transgender troops and ...


Gay News

World news: Australia and marriage, gay journalist, Pakistani bill 2017-08-15 - Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's decision to come out opposing same-sex marriage is not going down well with his own sister, PinkNews ...


Gay News

Texas House Adjourns Without Passing New Anti-Transgender Bill 2017-08-15 - AUSTIN, Texas — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) ...


Gay News

Demonstration planned for Federal Building Plaza Tuesday at 5 p.m. 2017-08-15 - A news conference and a demonstration are planned for Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. The news conference is to begin at 4:30 p.m. and ...


Gay News

Houston restroom bill dies again, 50,000+ Texans took action to oppose 2017-08-15 - A Texas "bathroom bill" targeting transgender people died again Aug. 15, a Houston Chronicle item reported. It is the second time that ...


Gay News

Sixteen trans, gay Central America migrants seek asylum in U.S. 2017-08-14 - A group of 16 transgender and gay migrants from Central America on Aug. 10 sought asylum in the United States. The migrants—who ...


 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.