Tyrion Lannister

What Am I Missing Here?

Filed By Tyrion Lannister | July 30, 2008 5:09 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Politics

The Star reports that the Indiana State Police have fired two officers involved in an altercation outside of Gregs last year. What's perfectly bizarre about the article is its headline -- "ISP Fires 2 Officers in Gay Bar Incident" -- and the inclusion in the article of a brief and entirely irrelevant comment that Gregs is "proudly gay-owned and operated." Now since the editors included that information in the headline, one would presume that it was important information. But, at least from what the article and other reporting, the altercation was only about a parking space. Is the Star trying to imply there was a homophobic subtext to the altercation? Why is the Star trying to emphasize that the officers were parking in front of a gay bar? What's the point of this? Spit it out already!

It seems to me that either Francesca Jarosz is doing a piss-poor job of reporting what actually transpired or she's captivated by the apparent novelty that gay bars exist. Either way, this article sucks.

Updated, 10:15 PM, 7/30/08

The Star website has changed the link title on the main page to "ISP fires 2 officers in bar-parking incident," but in-article title remains the same and still contains the tidbit about it being a "proudly gay owned and operated bar." In comments, Chuck suggests that the way the article is written gives the false impression that the two police officers were homophobic bullies, when, in fact, they were bullying the man to get into the bar. Perhaps, but I'm not sure one way or another. In fact, the weird inclusion of the whole "gay" angle is just mostly confusing and gives the impression that the Star finds the concept/presence of gay bars in Indianapolis to be, in and of itself, newsworthy.

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The article did suck. From my recollection (the article may have been clarified since, but I see no reason to reread the sorry thing again), only the title mentioned the fight was over a parking space, and the article never bothered to give the motive behind the assualt.

What really disturbs me is that there is a clear subtext in the Star article that the officers were being the standard homophobic thugs picking on poor queers coming out gay bars. In reality, we have two new troopers abusing their law enforcement powers to intimidate and rough up TO GET INTO a gay bar. Not excusable, but totally different.

The WANE article is much better.

I think the police agencies in this county (especially IMPD) have come a long way in building relationships in the gay community and promoting qualified gay officers on merit. Just at the lieutenant rank, I know of one gay man and one lesbian who are both out and proud members of the force. Not to say problems don't exist (and to be quite honest, I don't know much about the culture inside ISP), but this headline gives an extremely false impression.

I would also like to know what took the Star so long to report this. I heard bits and pieces about this Thursday evening (granted, I am in the pipeline for such information), and the full story on Friday. Why did it take nearly a week for such information to come to light?

I should make clear that the reason I mentioned that the troopers were attempting to get into the bar is that it was the information I was given by those privy to it. Hearsay, but I think it is reliable. Parking spaces are at a premium in that neighborhood on the weekends, but Greg's is the only bar around, and I can't imagine the troopers wanting that parking spot in front of the bar so they could visit a nearby resident.

They obviously were not in uniform, but had the car (a violation of their employment, as was the lighting up of the overheads without cause to do so). I would hope that the ISP would be offended not only by the behavior of the troopers, but by the fact that they sulllied the reputations of their brothers by using their position and equipment to commit this act. I hope it was that, and not some discriminatory intent upon learning that the troopers were or might be gay, that led to this termination.

Oh well, better to weed them out now than to have a scandal erupt in a few years.

The story makes no damn sense at all. I think we're being used as a hook.

DTIndyGuy | July 31, 2008 9:12 PM

The real interesting point of this story (from a gay perspective) is that one of the trooper's ex's (a gay man himself who works for a high-ranking Democratic elected official) warned the State Police and the Governor's office about this man's temper and even sent them PSYCHOLOGICAL EVIDENCE. They all ignored his ex-boyfriend (who had been the subject of his abuse) and hired him anyway. If that were a Republican woman instead of a Democratic man making those claims, would they have ignored her?

It may interest you to know that the gay media is now reporting "Gay Bashing Cops Fired."

Have we got any confirmation on the victim yet? I heard rumors that the victim might have been a straight patron (though the person who told me this said one of her sources was comments in the Star). It is also my understanding that one of the troopers himself was gay and was going to the bar for social purposes. The headline at the least seems to be misleading.