Thursday, January 9, 2014

Controversy After Contra Costa County California District Attorney Files Charges Against Transgender Teen Jewlyes Gutierrez Following Fight That Occurred After She Suffered Weeks Of Harassment, Roosevelt New York Police Charge 22-Year-Old Marquise Utsey With Three Counts Of Robbery After He Lured And Victimized Men Via Gay Website, New Haven Connecticut Police Continue To Investigate Circumstances Surrounding Death While In Custody Of Yale University Professor Samuel See As Medical Examiner Rules He Died From Acute Methamphetamine Overdose, Fury Over Brighton England’s First Same Sex Marriage, Stevie Nicks On Her American Horror Story: Coven Appearance, HBO Renews Girls For Season Four

In Hercules, California, a growing public campaign is putting pressure on the Contra Costa County district attorney to drop battery charges against a transgender teen: filed after a fight at Hercules High that occurred after the student had endured days of taunting and harassment by classmates. The Mercury News reports that a petition on Change.org posted Wednesday by the sister of Jewlyes Gutierrez has garnered media and public attention from around the country, said Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa school district. He questioned why the district attorney's office, which has limited resources, is pursuing a matter that he believes had already been resolved. "People are talking about this," he said. "It doesn't seem to be fair. You're prosecuting a victim here? It seems like this is really a school issue. They took care of it at the school site." The students involved in the fight were suspended and later apologized to each other, Ramsey said. Since the incident, there has been no further harassment, he added. The petition by Valerie Poquiz says Jewlyes was taunted and bullied because of her gender identity. After one of her classmates spit gum in her face, Jewlyes, 16, sought help from the assistant principal, but the issue was not properly addressed, the petition states. "On November 15, 2013, Jewlyes was pushed over the edge," according to the petition. "Due to continued harassment, a fight ensued. Out of fear of physical violence, Jewlyes finally stood up for herself. Several girls who were tormenting my sister then physically attacked her. This was captured on video and shown on the news." Deputy public defender Kaylie Simon said several people sympathetic to Jewlyes have written letters to the District Attorney's Office asking that the charges be dropped. If the district attorney decides to follow through with the charges, Jewlyes will face a misdemeanor hearing February 5 -- just one week after a January 29 school board meeting where trustees are expected to unveil revised policies aimed at creating safer campuses and protect against sexual and gender-based harassment. Jewlyes said what's happening to her isn't fair. "I was getting picked on and bullied and it doesn't seem right that I'm getting charged for anything," she said. "If anything, it seems pretty messed up. I got badly injured from this incident because there were three people against one and it really affected me. I'm still emotional about it. I don't feel safe at school." Deputy district attorney Daniel Cabral said he could not discuss the case, including why Jewlyes was charged with a crime, because those involved are juveniles. He disputed Simon's assertion that she could speak to the press about the case because she had received permission from Jewlyes. "The only way anyone can talk about it is under the authority of the juvenile court," he said. A petition urging the Contra Costa district attorney to drop the charges against Hercules High student Jewlyes Gutierrez is available by visiting www.change.org and searching for Jewlyes Gutierrez.

In New York, police on Long Island have arrested a man they say was targeting men he met on a gay dating site. All of the victims were using the male dating website Adam4Adam. The site also promotes "hookups", chat, and cameras. Police say that Marquise J. Utsey, 22, of Roosevelt met the victims on the site and would set up meeting with them. On Sunday, December 29, 2013, at 10:20 pm Nassau County police say that Utsey got into the vehicle of a 23-year-old man and demanded cash after threatening the victim with a gun. The victim handed over his money and phone before Utsey ran away. The victim did not see a gun. Then, on Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 6:15 pm the police say that Utsey got into a 39-year-old man's car. Once in the vehicle, police say Utsey and the victim began arguing and Utsey took the victim's phone and jumped out of the vehicle. In the final incident, on Friday January 3, police say that Utsey got into a 28-year-old man's car and pulled out a small knife. He demanded the victim's money and ran away. None of the victims were hurt. Police say Utsey used the screen name “HUGE12” when he met the victims online. On Wednesday, at 4:15 pm arrested Utsey after he offered to perform a sex act in exchange for money to an undercover detective. He was placed under arrest without incident. Utsey is charged with three counts of robbery and prostitution. Detectives ask any possible victims of any similar incidents to contact the First Squad at 516-573-6152.

An update on a previous post: In Connecticut, a Yale University professor found dead in a detention cell in November following his arrest in a domestic incident overdosed on methamphetamine and amphetamine, the medical examiner's office said Monday. Samuel See died of acute methamphetamine and amphetamine intoxication with recent myocardial infarction. His death was ruled an accident. See was found unresponsive in a detention cell at 6:00 am on November 24. Court marshals performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until medics arrived. See, who was alone in his cell, was pronounced dead at 6:15 am. See, an assistant professor of English and American studies, was on leave this semester. The Hartford Courant reports that New Haven police continue to investigate the circumstances of See's death. New Haven police responded to a domestic dispute at See's home the evening of November 23. Sunder Ganglani, 32, who identified himself as See's husband, was at the home in violation of a protective order, police said. Ganglani told police he was retrieving his belongings. He was charged with violating a protective order. See told officers to remove Ganglani from his home, and officers reminded See that there was a protective order barring him from being near Ganglani, police said. See became enraged and yelled that he shouldn't be arrested because he was in his own home, then fought with officers who tried handcuffing him, police said. "I will kill you. ... I will destroy you," See allegedly yelled at an officer as he was led to a police car. See suffered a cut above his right eye when he and the officers fell during the arrest, police said. He was treated at Yale-New Haven Hospital and was then released to New Haven police. Officers took him to the detention facility. He was charged with violating a protective order, interfering with police and second-degree threatening. Judicial marshals spoke with See, who was alone in his cell, during routine checks throughout the night, police said. He was found unresponsive the next morning. On his faculty website, See wrote that his scholarship focuses on British and American modernist literature and sexuality studies.

In the United Kingdom, the BBC reports that a gay couple who claim they were told they would be the first to marry in Brighton say the city council has gone back on its promise. James Preston and Phil Robathan say their paperwork stipulates they will be the first in the city to tie the knot. They booked their wedding in December when the government announced the first same sex wedding date of March 29. The council has now announced a competition to find the first couple and said it was a misunderstanding. "We've got paperwork saying our ceremony would be conducted at the earliest time possible," said Mr Preston. "The registrars were the ones making a song and dance in the office about being the first couple. We went down there, we booked it all, we handed over the money and we were given the paperwork." On Tuesday, Brighton and Hove council announced it would give a free wedding, for 80 guests, in the Royal Pavilion's Music Room to the first same sex couple to be married in the city. It said couples could apply to be selected for the ceremony to be held at one minute past midnight on March 29. The couple were given paperwork saying their wedding would be the earliest possible The wedding would also be the first to be conducted in the music room. "We were absolutely furious when we found out that we had been made to feel so silly," said Mr Preston. "They are making a mockery and circus of the whole idea of marriage, let alone ourselves." Councillor Leo Littman said there had been a misunderstanding. "They were never told by the registrars they would be the first couple married," he said. "They were told that they would get a time on 29 March but not what time that would be. We have been taking inquiries for well over a year for couples wanting to know when we would be able to offer same sex marriages. We thought it was only fair to give consideration to all the couples who had registered their interest in being the first to get married."

The Los Angeles Times profiles Stevie Nicks, the 65-year-old pop culture icon recounting her appearance on Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story: Coven as Stevie Nicks. Spoiler: Nicks played herself brilliantly.

Deadline.com reports that ahead of Girls‘ third season premiere on Sunday, the HBO comedy series has been picked up for a fourth season. The announcement was made by HBO EVP Casey Bloys at the start of the Girls TCA panel. Season 4 will film in the summer to air in 2015. Created by Lena Dunham, Girls has been a modest ratings performer but has transcended television to become a pop culture phenomenon in a way few shows have done and made stars out of its four leads, Dunham, Allison Williams, Zosia Mamet and Jemima Kirke. Girls, exec produced by Dunham, Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner, also has been a critical darling, earning solid reviews and a slew of major nominations, including two Golden Globe Awards last year.

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