Congressman Keith Ellison

Representing the 5th District of Minnesota

Facebook Twitter

Rep. Ellison Requests Transgender Awareness Training for Minneapolis and Hennepin County

Dec 4, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) sent a letter yesterday to the Department of Justice requesting Transgender Law Enforcement Training for the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Sherriff’s Department. The program, announced in March by DOJ’s Community Relations Service, trains local law enforcement to increase engagement and foster trust with transgender communities in their jurisdictions. 

The letter is below and a signed copy can be found here.

Director Grande H. Lum Community Relations Service Department of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Director Lum:

I am writing to request Department of Justice (DOJ) Transgender Law Enforcement Training for my district and to urge your office to assist in improving the relationship between the Minneapolis transgender community and local law enforcement. Last month I had the opportunity to meet with transgender leaders in my district. Following a robust discussion, a consensus emerged that many transgender people are concerned about their interactions with law enforcement officials. 

Participants in the discussion raised concerns about racism and transphobia in the community, discrimination by law enforcement, and policies like misgendering while in prison that endangers transgender inmates. The case of CeCe McDonald was cited as a salient example of how interactions with law enforcement have created fear in the transgender community. The injustice associated with Ms. McDonald’s case illustrates the necessity for transgender law enforcement training in Minneapolis. 

The transgender community faces pervasive discrimination. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released a report that confirms what many in the transgender community know from firsthand experience; violence against the LGBT population has increased dramatically and transgender people suffer the highest proportion of violence from civilians and law enforcement. Discrimination from law enforcement has become so common that many transgender victims are too afraid to report incidents of violence.                                            Officials at the Minneapolis Police Department and the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office recognize the importance of addressing these concerns and have expressed their support for this training.

As you know, in March the Community Relations Service announced it would begin offering Transgender Law Enforcement Training for bureaus across the country. This is an important step towards making our transgender citizens safe. It is an important opportunity to build an environment of trust in our community. I encourage you to send a representative from the DOJ to meet with leaders in the Minneapolis transgender community and me to discuss the program and ways to foster inclusiveness.  

I look forward to working with you, the LGBT community in Minnesota, and local law enforcement.