Activists Blast Furr Sentence
Members of the District’s LGBT community are slamming the decision by D.C. Superior Court Judge Russell Canan to suspend the sentence of Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kenneth Furr, convicted in October of assault with a dangerous weapon and solicitation of prostitution. The convictions follow an Aug. 26, 2011, incident in which Furr flashed a gun and threatened to shoot two men outside a Chinatown-area CVS after Furr sexually propositioned their transgender female friend.
As Metro Weekly reported Thursday, Canan suspended 46 months of a 60-month sentence for the assault with a dangerous weapon charge; and suspended a 30-day sentence for the solicitation charge. The remaining 14-month sentence was applied to the 14 months served during Furr’s arrest till the time of his conviction. Furr was acquitted of seven other charges in October.
The DC Trans Coalition, which had filed a community impact statement with Judge Canan prior to Thursday’s sentencing, today released a statement critical of the proceedings.
’’This result is the product of a legal system that constantly devalues trans people’s lives,’’ DCTC member Jason Terry said in the statement. ’’Officer Furr’s defense team actively sought to portray the victims as somehow deserving of this violence, and apparently they succeeded. If roles had been reverse and a trans woman had gotten drunk and flashed a gun at a police officer, the results would be drastically different.’’
The DCTC release also cited data showing that members of the transgender community are reluctant to call authorities when in need of police assisatance, and that transgender people of color are more than two-and-a-half times more likely than other members of the LGBT community to face violence from police.
’’Officer Furr exemplifies why this fear exists,’’ Terry said. ’’D.C.’s trans communities face blatant discrimination, harassment, and violence from police officers every day, yet when an officer drunkenly shoots at trans people, accountability seems to disappear.’’