Bil Browning

Update on Mark Lee

Filed By Bil Browning | February 19, 2007 9:12 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: homophobic behavior, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, LGBT criminals, Mark Lee

You might remember that I brought you the news of Mark Lee's carjacking and his appeal to the community to assist him in finding his car and bringing the perpetrator to justice. Good news! Mark's car has been found and, I believe, two individuals arrested.

Mark fills us in:

I spoke with Detective Snyder this morning. He was shocked at first when I told him it was a car jacking, because the police report indicated it was a stolen car. Then when I told him everything that happened, he accused me of being a liar. He said, "I'm sorry, but in all of my years of being a detective, I've never heard of anything like this happening (he couldn't understand why I put my wallet away before giving the guy a ride), and I can't help but think that you made the whole thing up" So... so far I have been accused of looking for either drugs or sexual favors, and calling the cops when things went wrong; and being a flat out liar. Isn't America wonderful???

The ironic part of this situation is the reason I put my wallet away in the first place: The man who asked me for a ride did look a little suspicious to me, but for whatever reason I thought he might ask me for money, and the thought of him taking my car never entered my mind. It just so happens that I am a HORRIBLE (horrible) liar, so I figured if I left my wallet inside my apartment, then if he was to ask me if I had any money, I could look him in the eye and say "No". I realize that is a very odd way of thinking, but that was my thought process at the time.

Anyway, the good news is that a.) I am still alive, and b.) my car is still in one piece. The window on the drivers side was smashed in, and the back tail light is broken; but other than that, the car is perfectly driveable. Most everything I had in the car was even still in it when I went to pick it up. In fact, the only two items of importance that were MISSING was my FedEx ID, and my father's Korean Army Jacket. Everything else was taken out of my back seat, and put in the trunk of the car for some odd reason. I am happy that at least part of the story (finding my car in one piece) had a happy ending. But I am still appalled at how I have been treated throughout this process, and would seriously like to know if there is anything else I can do. Thanks again for your help.

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Chris Douglas | February 19, 2007 10:10 AM

For what if it's worth, I've know Mark for years and years. My gut feeling is that if this is what Mark says happened, it is indeed what happened. The official responses are shocking to me.

Thank you for that! The official responses are shocking to me as well... I put in another call to the detective, only to find out there were two people in the car at the time it was found on Friday night: a 16 year old, and an 18 year old; but the 16 year old is the only one being taken to court, since he is the one who was driving the car. Again, it seems odd to me that they have no desire for me to see if I can identify the 18 year old as the one who stole my car. I'll keep people posted if there are any changes.

Chris Douglas | February 19, 2007 5:56 PM

Mark, here is a prospect that alarms me on your behalf. It is too easy to imagine the youth claiming a sexual aggression from you and invoking some sort of "gay panic" defense. That youth is going to be scrambling to come up with a story as to why he was in your stolen car. It will be the interests of the youth to portray you as a menace in some way. And now that you've pissed some people off... well.... maybe you should get an attorney!

Marla R. Stevens | February 21, 2007 3:14 AM

1. File a complaint against the detective. You're a crime victim and deserving of decent treatment. Contact Chris Reeder.
2. The community's organizations should seek a meeting with the chief of police, public safety director, and mayor to discuss ways to ensure that this will not happen again. In particular, to review the amount of training on gay issues both new recruits and serving line officers get, who provides it, and its content.
3. Demand that the 18 year-old be charged unless the police can show reason not to.
4. Seek assistance from victim assistance in following the case through the system as well as with the police-community relations issues it raises. If you were not referred to V.A., make sure you let them know that so that they can raise an alarm that proper procedure in that regard was not followed.
5. Organize a group to attend court procedings -- visibly with some symbol the court knows means is a demand for justice for Mark Lee. This did not just happen to Mark. It happened to every one of us.