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This cop made a bigoted video calling for murder — and he still has a job

A New York police officer was put on probation after ranting about ‘two genders,’ Hillary Clinton, and his support of Donald Trump.

By Casey Quinlan - October 26, 2020
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Office Robert Sisco

A police officer in New York’s Hudson Valley was allowed to keep his job after he recorded a rap video in which he said “there’s only two genders.”

In June, Rob Sisco, a police officer in New Paltz, New York, recorded a rap video in which he expressed his support for Donald Trump and called to “hang” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “for treason.”

“There’s only two genders and Trump’s still your president. Boys have a penis and girls have a vagina,” Sisco rapped in the video, which was obtained by the Hudson Valley Post.

Sisco’s rap continued: “Hillary is Killary. We all know the reason. Where those emails at? We should hang her for treason.”

Sisco wore his police uniform in the video.

In June, the Newburgh LGBTQ Center in the Hudson Valley shared a petition that called the video “degrading” to the transgender community, and called for Sisco’s termination. More than 2,100 people signed the LGBTQ center’s petition, while 3,100 people signed a separate petition calling for Sisco to be “returned to full duty.”

After his video went viral, Sisco was suspended from his job for 30 days, but was allowed to return to work afterward, when his case was being decided.

An arbitrator said the video did not constitute a fireable offense, the Hudson Valley Post reported last week.

While he was allowed to keep his job, Sisco will have to serve a second, longer suspension, and will be “on probation” for four years afterward. Neil Bettez, the town’s supervisor, called the deal a “last-chance agreement” with Sisco.

Sisco began serving a 90-day suspension without pay on Oct. 25.

As part of his probation agreement, any repeat offenses in the next four years will result in Sisco’s termination from the New Paltz Police Department, the outlet reported.

Sisco has also agreed to give a public apology for his offensive video, and has agreed to perform 20 hours of community service that will be overseen by local LGBTQ leaders.

This year has seen a “horrific spike” in violent acts committed against transgender people in the United States. At least 33 transgender or nonconforming people have been killed in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Black and Latinx transgender women make up the majority of these violent deaths.

Many transgender people have had negative interactions with police, according to a 2015 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality. Such experiences can lead to transgender people to be wary of going to the police for help.

From the report:

Of respondents who interacted with police or law enforcement officers who thought or knew they were transgender in the past year, 57% said they were never or only sometimes treated respectfully. Further, 58% reported some form of mistreatment, such as being repeatedly referred to as the wrong gender, verbally harassed, or physical or sexually assaulted. More than half (57%) of respondents said they were either somewhat or very uncomfortable asking the police for help.

Police often profile transgender people as sex workers simply for existing in public spaces. Activists in New York have worked to repeal Loitering for the Purpose of Prostitution, a misdemeanor commonly known as the “walking while trans ban.”

Bianey Garcia, a community organizer in New York, told the Eagle that she has seen the effects of this law firsthand. Garcia is a transgender Latinx woman who works for Make the Road New York, a group that advocates for immigrant and workers rights. She said transgender people “are afraid to express their gender” or to “wear anything sexy or put heels on for fear of being arrested.”

Last year, transgender activists and community leaders in Washington, D.C., advocated for sex work decriminalization, and argued that criminalization threatens transgender people’s well-being.

Sisco isn’t the first police officer this year who was allowed to keep his job after making anti-LGBTQ comments. In May, Chicago police officer Matthew Drinnan was recorded calling a protester a homophobic slur. While the Chicago Police Department initially stripped Drinnan of his police powers, it is unclear whether he will be fired altogether.

The city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability has called for Drinnan to be fired, according to records obtained by CBS 2 in Chicago. The outlet reported that an “additional review process” is still needed, however, before Drinnan can be terminated.

The Chicago police union is fighting his potential firing.

John Catanzara, head of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, said Drinnan only needs “maybe a little training,” and that his police powers should never have been stripped, CBS 2 Chicago reported.

Catanzara even went so far as to imply that Drinnan was justified in using a homophobic slur.

“No one talks about the fact that he was the victim of an aggravated battery,” Catanzara told news outlets earlier this month. “He was hit in the back with a traffic cone.”

Drinnan is back at work after receiving an unspecified training, according to Catanzara.

“We’re never going to accept. We’re going to keep fighting,” the police union president said.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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