An update on the case of Jene Newsome, the decorated Air Force sergeant discharged in January under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. The Rapid City, South Dakota police chief says in a report released Friday that he "regrets" his department's outing of Sgt. Jene Newsome but his officers followed department protocol, the Associated Press reports.
Chief Steve Allender said the Rapid City Police Department will review policies on sharing information with other agencies and meet with members of the gay and lesbian community in the wake of Jene Newsome's honorable discharge under the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The January discharge came after Rapid City officers saw an Iowa marriage certificate in her home and told officials at the nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base. Rapid City police have said Newsome, an aircraft armament system craftsman who spent nine years in the Air Force, was not cooperative when officers showed up at her home in November with an arrest warrant for her wife, who was wanted on theft charges in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Chief Allender wrote he cannot substantiate the allegations that "the detective released the information regarding sexual orientation out of vengeance." Newsome told KOTA-TV the detective told her "he knew how the military worked" and would forward the information to the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations.
ACLU South Dakota filed a complaint with the Rapid City Police Department. The organization is now preparing to file a lawsuit, reports KITV. "In a letter e-mailed Friday to Mayor Alan Hanks, ACLU South Dakota executive director Robert Doody asks for unspecified monetary damages for Jene Newsome, among other corrective measures. The letter threatens a lawsuit."
Jene 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 Department of Defense data that show black lesbians are discharged under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" at three times the rate that they serve.
Air Force Sgt Discharged Under "Don't Ask" Files Complaint