Lambda to Join Anti-Police Brutality March

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Nation's oldest and largest gay legal group joins call for thorough NYPD reforms
April 15, 1999

(NEW YORK, April 15, 1999) -- Adding its voice to protests of the fatal police shooting of unarmed West African immigrant Amadou Diallo, Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund said it would take part in Thursday's massive demonstration in a call for justice.

"Lambda joins thousands of grieving New Yorkers to demand a full and fair response to this tragedy," said Lambda Legal Director Beatrice Dohrn. "Police brutality is a scourge that especially victimizes the poor and people of color, including many lesbians and gay men."

Dohrn added, "With Thursday's march, Lambda seeks to show our support and sorrow for the Diallo family and solidarity with all victims of police violence. As our own caseload has shown, gay people also have reason to fear the heavy hand of police brutality. It is time for the city to heed our calls for reform and restraint."

Lambda, the largest and oldest legal organization dedicated to the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV and AIDS, has challenged police misconduct around the country, such as illegal police tactics at AIDS and gay civil rights demonstrations, entrapment, false arrest, and verbal and physical abuse.

Dohrn noted that three Lambda staff members were among the nearly 100 people arrested at an October 1998 vigil for Matthew Shepard, the slain gay Wyoming college student. The vigil turned violent when police charged a trapped crowd using horses, motor scooters, and billy clubs.

In February, Diallo was gunned down in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment building by four police officers. The shooting has sparked nearly daily demonstrations and a campaign of civil disobedience that resulted in the arrests of more than 1,200 people. The officers, all members of the elite Street Crimes Unit of the New York Police Department, have since been indicted.

Founded in 1973, Lambda is headquartered in New York, with regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Atlanta.


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