Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, gay liaison Patricia Powell and City Council member Alex Wan hope to address community’s concerns

LGBT town hall forum tonight to discuss anti-gay crimes

Atlanta City Council member Alex Wan is joining forces with the Atlanta Police Department to hold a town hall meeting to address concerns in the LGBT community about a recent rash of anti-gay crimes.

The meeting is today from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Inman Middle School, 774 Virginia Ave., NE Atlanta, GA  30306.

On hand for the meeting will be APD Chief George Turner and Senior Patrol Officer Patricia Powell, the police department’s LGBT liaison.

The July 2 armed robbery of gay pastor Josh Noblitt and his friend in Piedmont Park, classified by the APD as a bias crime, is one of the reasons for holding the town hall forum, Wan said in a press release. Wan represents District 6, which includes Midtown and the park.

“These attacks are disturbing, and I want to make certain my constituents — and others in the GLBT community — are able to ask questions they need to protect themselves,” Wan said.

A transgender woman was also attacked on July 9 and a state parole officer, whose vehicle was located in the parking lot of the gay bar the Atlanta Eagle, was found severely beaten and is in a medically induced coma at Grady Hospital. The APD has made an arrest in the case of the beaten parole officer and have said this was not a stranger-on-stranger crime.

In a statement, Turner, who was recently named as Mayor Kasim Reed’s pick for the top police post, said it is the APD’s job to ensure the safety of all of Atlanta’s residents.

“The Atlanta Police Department has a responsibility to keep all of our citizens safe,” Turner said.

“Part of what makes Atlanta great is its diversity. The gay community has made many wonderful contributions to our city, and we want to be sure their voice is heard on public safety matters. We encourage them to engage us on how we can best help them stay safe.”

Powell and the APD are also in the process of forming a nine-member LGBT Advisory Board.