Gays arrested; police seize crystal meth, cash in Shaw raid
Members of the D.C. police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit assisted ofﬁcers with the FirstDistrict police Vice Unit in a Nov. 23 raid on a house in the city’s Shaw neighborhood thatresulted in the arrest of two men on drug-related charges.A police charging document identiﬁes the two men as boyfriends and police sourcessaid drugs found in the house were identiﬁed as crystal methamphetamine.Neighbors reported that police used a battering ram to force open the door of thehouse at 901 S St., N.W., as nearly a dozen police cars arrived on the scene. Witnessessaid police later escorted two men in handcuffs out of the house and into a police car,where they were taken into custody.A police complaint ﬁled in D.C. Superior Court says police charged Nicholas H. Fittro,27, with unlawful possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance.A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s ofﬁce said the ofﬁce dropped a similar chargeagainst the second man arrested at the house, Justin W. John.A police afﬁdavit in support of Fittro’s arrest says police “received information that anindividual named Nicholas Fittro was selling methamphetamine from inside his residencelocated at 901 S Street, N.W. Based on that information Ofﬁcer M. Fanone obtained aD.C. Superior Court search warrant…to search the entire premises.”The afﬁdavit says ofﬁcers forced their way into the house after the two occupants didn’trespond when police knocked on the door and announced in a loud voice that they hada search warrant to enter the premises.“Once inside, ofﬁcers encountered Nicholas Hilliard Fittro and Justin Wayne John whowere standing in the living room,” the afﬁdavit says. “Mr. Fittro was identiﬁed as the leaseholder for the property and Mr. John was identiﬁed as his roommate and boyfriend. Bothindividuals identiﬁed bedroom #1 as being theirs,” the afﬁdavit says.It says a search of the bedroom and other locations in the house turned up 12 separateitems deemed relevant to the case. It says the ﬁrst item, found in a metal cabinet drawerin the bedroom, was a “clear plastic bag containing approximately 11.3 grams of a whitecrystal substance, a portion of which ﬁeld tested positive for amphetamines.”The afﬁdavit says various quantities of the same white crystal substance that testedpositive as a form of amphetamines were found in three other locations in the house. Itsays police also found, among other items, a “black digital scale and silver cup containinga white crystal residue,” $2,511 in cash, and an undisclosed amount of foreign currencyand money orders.A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s ofﬁce said the ofﬁce never discloses its reasonsfor dropping charges against defendants. But the police afﬁdavit in support of Fittro’sarrest says Fittro later waived his Miranda right to remain silent before consulting withan attorney and “claimed ownership of the contraband which was recovered from insidethe house.”A law enforcement source who spoke on condition of not being identiﬁed said Fittro’sassertion that he was the party responsible for the drugs appears to have prompted theU.S. Attorney’s ofﬁce to dismiss the charge against his boyfriend.Marie Haldane, Fittro’s attorney, said neither she nor Fittro would comment on thecase at the present time. The next court hearing on the case is scheduled for Dec. 14 inSuperior Court.Court records show that Fittro was released on his own recognizance while awaitingtrial.Josh Riley, an addictions specialist for Whitman-Walker Health, said crystal methuse and abuse remains a serious problem within the city’s gay male community. LGBTcommunity leaders across the country have long called for stepped up programs toaddress crystal meth use within the LGBT community.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Trans woman reports rape in D.C. shelter
D.C. police on Nov. 26 arrested a 19-year-old male resident of a group home for abusedand neglected youth for allegedly sexually assaulting a transgender woman of the sameage who also lived in the home.Records ﬁled in D.C. Superior Court show that police charged James Cottom withﬁrst-degree sexual abuse against the transgender woman at the Saga Adventures grouphome at 2808 Pomeroy Rd., S.E.A police arrest afﬁdavit says the woman told police she was asleep in her bed in anupper ﬂoor bedroom when she was awakened by Cottom, who was “standing next to herbed looking at her and holding an orange condom wrapper and some lubricant.”The afﬁdavit says the woman told him, “What are you doing in my room? Get out.” Itsays Cottom replied, “I want to fuck.”According to the afﬁdavit, the woman attempted to run out of the room but Cottomgrabbed her, threw her onto the bed, and forced her to engage in receptive analintercourse while she struggled to break free. It says Cottom, who wore a condom duringthe assault, ﬂed the room after the woman managed to call another resident in the housefor help on her phone.The afﬁdavit says the person whom the trans woman called for help called police ashort time later. It says the woman “positively identiﬁed” Cottom as the person whoassaulted her, and police arrested him on the scene.Arnett Smith, administrator of the Saga Adventures house, conﬁrmed that the incidentoccurred at the house. He said the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA), whichplaces children and youth at the house, transferred Cottom to another city-approvedyouth facility while he awaits trial.The CFSA website says it serves as the city’s public child and youth welfare agencyresponsible for children and youth at risk of abuse and neglect in their homes. It sayswhen the agency determines children and youth aren’t safe in their homes, it places themin foster care or facilities such as group homes.D.C. transgender activist Earline Budd, an ofﬁcial with the local organization TransgenderHealth Empowerment, has expressed concern that transgender youth placed in city andprivate shelters and group homes have often encountered abuse and violence from otherresidents of the facilities.Budd and other transgender activists have called on the city to take steps to protecttransgender residents of shelters and group homes.When asked if the group homes operated by Saga Adventures provide adequatesecurity for LGBT residents, Smith said they do.“You can rest assured that the people are safe there,” he said.But when asked how his security arrangements enabled one resident of his group hometo sexually assault another, he declined to comment, saying strict rules of conﬁdentialityfor the juvenile residents of the facility prevented him from discussing a speciﬁc case.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
The Metropolitan D.C. Police Department’s Gay & Lesbian Liaison Unit was involved in the following investigations:
• On Nov. 27 in the 3300 block of Stanton Road, S.E., a member of the 7th District
responded to a call for an unconscious person. The complainant was foundunconscious and unresponsive and was transported for medical attention. Areport for attempted suicide/sick person to hospital was taken.
• On Nov. 26 in the 2000 block of 8th St., N.W., two complainants reported
being in a verbal altercation that escalated into a physical assault. They providedconﬂicting reports of the events. The case is pending further investigation.
• On Nov. 26 in the 2300 block of Good Hope Road, S.E., a woman reported
that she was involved in an argument with a suspect over relationship issues.The suspect and several other people later returned to the listed location anddestroyed the woman’s property. A report was taken.
• On Nov. 24 in the 1400 block of T Street, N.W., a man reported that while walking
his dog he was approached by a suspect who threatened physical violence andthreatened to destroy the victim’s property. The suspect also used homophobicepithets against the man. A bias-motivated threats report was taken.
• On Nov. 23 in the 4600 block of Benning Road, N.E., a man reported that while
walking in the listed location, he was approached by an unknown suspect whoproduced a ﬁrearm and attempted to rob him. When the suspect was not ableto obtain any property, he ﬂed the scene. An assault with intent to rob report wastaken.
• On Nov. 21 in the 1500 block of 17th Street, N.W., a man reported that while
walking he was approached by a suspect who demanded his wallet. The manrefused and the suspect forcefully obtained the wallet and ﬂed the area. A reportwas taken.
• A man reported that on Nov. 20 in the 1200 block of 7th Street, N.W., he invited a
suspect into his apartment. After the suspect left the man’s apartment, he realizedthat the suspect had stolen his laptop computer. A theft report was taken.
• On Nov. 20, GLLU members attended the Transgender Day of Remembrance in
the 400 block of Ridge Street, N.W.
DECEMBER 02, 2011 • 03