The Gay Officers Action League (GOAL) is calling on the NYPD to take swift action after a viral video shared on Instagram Oct. 26 appeared to show an officer using an anti-gay slur.
In the video, posted by the Instagram user @skymilezz, an officer sitting in a police vehicle at a red light speaks into a loudspeaker, saying, “suck my d*ck, f****t.” The video shows the incident occurring near the intersection of E. 106th Street and Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
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Brian Downey, an NYPD detective and president of GOAL, told Gay City News in a phone interview he was “completely disgusted” when a member of GOAL brought the incident to his attention.
“This is a painful moment for many of us,” he said. “That word evokes a great deal of pain. It really is painful.”
Downey added: “And that’s the sentiment that I’ve gotten from my members: Anger, frustration, pain, sorrow.”
GOAL released a statement on Nov. 2 stating that the NYPD already launched an investigation.
“We expect the results of that investigation to lead to appropriate disciplinary action in line with the NYPD’s professional standards,” the statement read.
An NYPD spokesperson told Gay City News in an emailed statement that “the department does not tolerate discrimination in any form and is committed to respectful work environments for our diverse workforce. The incident is under internal review.”
Recently, the NYPD and Mayor Eric Adams’ administration have faced criticism for failing to punish the cops involved in the death of Kawaski Trawick, an out gay man who was fatally shot by police in his Bronx home in 2019. In that case, one of the officers who responded in the aftermath of the shooting was caught calling Trawick “just a perp.”
Downey acknowledged that the recent video shared on Instagram and similar incidents could erode the LGBTQ community’s trust in the NYPD.
“But we’re still in the arena, doing the work,” he said. “ And the Gay Officers Action League cannot do it without our community and without New Yorkers.”
“It’s not who I am and it’s not who our people are,” said Downey, referring to the video. “It’s not the principles of our organization nor do I think it’s the principles of the police department.”
At the same time, Downey added, “I’m a big fan of accountability, [and] I’m a big fan of transparency.”