Police Release Five Victims of Homophobia from ‘Protective Custody’

first_imgThe spokesperson of the Liberia National Police, H. Moses Carter, said at least five persons, who were taken into ‘protective custody’ during a violent attack which rocked the quiet suburbs of Sinkor two weeks ago, has been released.The five individuals were part of a larger group of people who were said to be attending a birthday party in Sinkor at a Drop-In-Center (DIC) owned and operated by Population Services International (PSI) when they came under a massive attack from residents of the community over suspicion they were “Gays” (homosexuals).“A total of five persons were brought to our headquarters. Some of them sustained injuries as a result of the stone-throwing,” Carter said.The party, according to sources, was the 33rd birth anniversary of a staff member of PSI, and the entity seized the occasion to boost attendance at the DIC, following a previous incident last year that dampened the interest of a key section of the population who frequent the location for regular HIV/AIDS checkups.Carter said the five individuals will not be forwarded to court as they are victims who the police had ‘saved’ from mob violence and prosecution is out of the question as they were not “caught in the act of homosexuality.”Articles 14.74, 14.79 and 50.7 [of the Penal Code of 1976] consider “voluntary sodomy” as a first-degree misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one-year imprisonment.However, Liberia’s gay community says harassment and discrimination are widespread against their associates, but Carter furthered that the police could not arrest any of the assailants.“It was during the night hours; we only managed to restore calm in the midst of the stone-throwing,” he said.PSI Liberia continues to remain silent on probes by journalRAGE over the level of security measures employed, which would have staved off the attack from community members.But in a statement published in local news outlets including the Daily Observer, PSI Liberia Country Director, Rajiv Dua, said rumors circulating on social media that the entity was hosting a “Gay party” are “rumors of evil.”According to the statement, Dua said that the party, hosted by ‘Saranna,’ was the birthday of one of their clients at the center, during which time PSI peer educators would take advantage to conduct HIV/AIDS testing and counseling to those vulnerable groups, most of whom showed up during the night hours.“They invaded our premises because of wrong rumors,” Dua is quoted in the statement.“We provide HIV & AIDS testing and counseling at that premises, and the party was set up to ensure that a greater part of the population of this vulnerable group showed up to be tested and counseled, but unfortunately, people with no idea of what was happening invaded and manhandled them,” he said.However, observers say the imbroglio at the center could have been prevented if the organization had employed stringent security measures. But Carter added, “The police only got involved when the altercation broke out.”Source: journalRAGEShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

4 in race for school board in Lancaster

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Fox said one of her goals would be “just making sure everybody works together as a team, that parents and the children and teachers are working together to solve any problems.” As for the school construction bond measure the district is thinking of placing on the ballot next year, Fox said she did not have enough information about the issue. Giles, 42, works for Antelope Valley Produce, a family business. He was first elected in 1997 and is seeking his third term. Giles said he is running again because he enjoys being on the board and is familiar with how the district runs. “I pretty much know how the district works and want to see it through. I want to see my kids graduate and to see them get a quality education,” Giles said. “I like the whole community-service thing. It’s a neat way to serve the community by serving on the school board.” Giles said he would work to improve test scores. “It’s tough, trying to figure what works and go with it. If we can get kids from moving around so much; our kids are so mobile,” Giles said. Giles also wants to build more schools but is hesitant about supporting another bond measure. Homeowners in the district are already paying taxes on a $29 million bond measure approved by voters in 1999. The district will poll residents to gauge support for another bond measure. “I have a lot of heartburn about asking for more taxpayer money. I wish there was some other way to fund schools. Right now we will look at that option to see if people are willing to do that,” Giles said. Grooms, 51, is regional vice president for United Way in the Antelope Valley. She served eight years on the board of Grace Lutheran School and resigned from that seat to run for the Lancaster board. She said she decided to run after her son told her several years ago about fellow high school students who were not prepared for high school. “I figured I should step up and try to do something. It begins at the elementary level. You can’t begin at the high school level,” Grooms said. With her experience in numerous organizations, Grooms said she would work toward developing cooperation between the school district and government and nonprofit agencies to improve child learning. Grooms would like to see a variety of techniques used to teach children, more art and music education to foster creativity, more teachers consulted in decision-making, and computers in every classroom. “I don’t believe there is one way to teach children. There are other ways to look at achievement. I don’t like learning to take tests to be the only measure of success for children,” Grooms said. She said another bond measure is absolutely necessary. “The student population is rising but we are not given funds to build facilities. We don’t have control over the growth that takes place, but we have to have a seat for every child,” Grooms said. Tepe, 38, works as a fifth-grade teacher at Tierra Bonita-North Elementary School in the Eastside Union School District. He has served 12 years and is seeking his fourth term. “I have seven kids of my own. I just want to make sure my kids and all kids in the community have a great education,” Tepe said. “I have a conservative, stick-to-the-basics approach.” Tepe said he has helped to maintain smaller class sizes in grades kindergarten through third grade, keep a balanced budget despite state and federal cutbacks, and bring in a values program that teaches students to be responsible, trustworthy, respectful and fair. Tepe said he would like to see whether the public would support another bond issue. “I think we have to look at all avenues. Having nice schools does enhance our community, but we have to look at what our community would be willing to support and go from there,” he said. Tepe said he will continue to support phonics in the lower grade levels and will work on setting up after-school tutoring programs for students who are falling behind in underperforming schools. Karen Maeshiro, (661) 267-5744 karen.maeshiro@dailynews.com 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – Just four candidates, two of them incumbents, are in the race for three seats on the Lancaster school board. Incumbents Keith Giles and Greg Tepe are running against challengers Rebecca Fox and Diane Grooms on the Nov. 8 ballot. After serving 20 years on the board, trustee Richard White will not seek re-election. Fox, 24, is a homemaker who schools her daughter and nephew at home. “I’m really interested in how our children succeed and what it takes to get them there,” Fox said. “I care about children and care about the community.” last_img read more