Police dispatch regarding weekend Boystown robbery blames victim

Mon. June 11, 2012 4:47 PM by GoPride.com News Staff

Chicago police dispatcher: “If you wouldn’t mess with boys in dresses this wouldn’t happen”

Chicago, IL - Despite a string of iPhone robberies in Boystown over the weekend, it's what was heard over the police scanner that could have many area residents upset.

A Chicago police officer and dispatcher are heard in an exchange that blamed the victim during an emergency call Sunday morning.

In a portion of the police scanner traffic received by ChicagoPride.com, a male dispatcher is heard broadcasting a robbery in progress near Belmont Avenue and North Halsted at 5:17 a.m. Sunday.

A male officer replies four minutes later that he found nothing in the area.

Less than 30 seconds pass before the dispatcher reports that the victim, a Hispanic male, placed a 911 call and was robbed by "four male blacks dressed as females." An ambulance is dispatched.

The officer then states over the police radio, "If you wouldn't stay out late, this wouldn't happen."

The dispatcher jokes, "If you wouldn't mess with boys in dresses, this wouldn't happen."

About eight minutes after the initial dispatch, the victim received help from another officer responding to The Call.

The Windy City Times reports the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) is looking into the matter. Neither the officer nor dispatcher have been identified.

The incident appears to correlate with the reported robbery of a Latino man Sunday morning on the 800 block of W. Belmont.

The victim was not transported to the hospital.

Police continue to investigate and no one is in custody.

However, the questionable comments strike a cord in Chicago's LGBT community, particularly with advocacy groups that have been working with Chicago Police Department officials to get a comprehensive order detailing how police interact with transgender individuals.

"The blaming the victim aspect of this incident is troubling," Christina Kahrl, Lakeview Action Coalition (LAC) volunteer leader and Equality Illinois board director, told ChicagoPride.com.

"LAC has been working with the Chicago Police Department to develop general protocols to ensure police sensitivity and competence on transgender issues, whether they are suspects or victims," said Kahrl. "The goal is that the police treat transgender folk with the same dignity and respect owed to all people."

A coalition of community groups led by LAC have been working since June 2010 to reach agreement with the Chicago Police Department on the new police order. Advocates told ChicagoPride.com Monday that talks have been fruitful.

A 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, found that over half of respondents said they felt uncomfortable seeking police assistance. 

Related: Robberies in Boystown; police comments criticized (WCT)