The American Civil Liberties Union files a complaint against a South Dakota police department after two officers had a hand in getting a decorated Air Force sergeant discharged for being a lesbian and had married her spouse in neighboring Iowa.
Last November, Rapid City Police Department officers went to 28-year-old Sgt. Jene' Newsome's home to serve an out-of-state theft warrant on her wife, Cheryl Hutson. Police called Newsome at Ellsworth Air Force Base for assistance. After delaying for several hours, she finally arrived home to find the police and Hutson inside.
"Police noticed an Iowa marriage certificate showing that the two women were married. Despite the fact that the marriage had nothing to do with the arrest, Officer Jeremy Stauffacher and Detective Tom Garinger sent that information to the Ellsworth AFB Office of Special Investigations. This prompted the military to discharge Newsome for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military. Newsome believes that the police did this as payback because she didn't help them arrest her wife. 'He (a police officer) informed me that he saw a marriage certificate on the kitchen table and he said he knew how the military worked and he'd let OSI handle it,' Newsome explained."
Soon after the officer's promise, Newsome was discharged from the military. "I played by 'don't ask, don't tell,' " Newsome tells The Associated Press. "I just don't agree with what the Rapid City Police Department did. ... They violated a lot of internal policies on their end, and I feel like my privacy was violated."
Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender says officers handled the situation correctly. "It's unfortunate that Newsome lost her job," Allender says. "But I disagree with the notion that our department might be expected to ignore the license, or not document the license, or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it."
Newsome was honorably discharged in January after an "impeccable" nine-year military record as a weapons specialist. She forfeited a retirement plan worth at least a half million dollars. Writing recently at MSNBC's The Grio, we reported Census data shows "black women with same-sex partners serve in the military at 11 times the rate of women overall." The Department of Defense reports black lesbians are discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at three times the rate that they serve.
Thanks COREY and CEDRIC