New Pulse lawsuit announced days before massacre’s 2-year mark

By : Jeremy Williams
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ORLANDO | A civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court June 7 by more than 35 Pulse survivors and family members against Orlando police officers and the City of Orlando just days before the two-year mark of the nightclub tragedy.

In a press conference, attorney Solomon Radner, with three of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, spoke to a room of reporters on the reasons the lawsuit was being filed.

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Orlando Police Department appoints new LGBT Police/Community Liaison

By : Jeremy Williams
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Sergeant Grace Peek

ORLANDO | Chief John Mina of the Orlando Police Department appointed Sergeant Grace Peek as the agency’s new LGBT police/community liaison.

Peek takes over for Lieutenant Jim Young who was appointed to the position upon its creation in 2014. Peek has been acting as Young’s assistant over the last year.

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Orlando’s Overheard: Hate signs, Digital Pulse and the new Center

By : Anonymous
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Preach Love Not Hate

From drag queens to bears, we know what to expect at a Pride event. Some of those expectations are the religious fanatics usually protesting in their designated sections.

Unfortunately, on Monday, June 12, a day of remembrance for the 49 victims of the Pulse shooting, approximately three “Christians” showed up with hateful signs and words.

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Report: After Pulse massacre, police training needs changes

By : Wire Report
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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – As a law enforcement foundation reviews how the Orlando Police Department responded to a 2016 mass shooting at a gay nightclub, the organization’s staffers say in a paper that police training and protocols may need to change.

They suggest that regular patrol officers should be trained in how to respond to a terrorist attack or a hostage situation. The paper was published earlier this month by three staffers of the Police Foundation in the CTC Sentinel, a publication of the Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point.

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Come Out With Pride rises to the challenge of healing a community still in a haze of grief

By : Billy Manes
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“In the beginning, everybody was kind of in shock,” Come Out With Pride board secretary and auction chair Deb Ofsowitz says. “It was hard to even talk about it.”

Osfowitz, of course, is referring to the June 12 Pulse massacre that resonated throughout the world; those few minutes of artillery fire that led to the deaths of 49 people and the injuries of 53 more at Pulse Orlando after a Saturday night, before the dawn of Sunday. The board convened immediately, she says, everybody soon after scattering into various public relations poses as public people often do in the face of tragedy.

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Mercedes Successful is one of 19 reported transgender murders in the U.S. this year. When will it stop?

By : Jeremy Williams and Anna Johnson
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Mercedes Successful was found shot to death in the back parking lot of a Big Lots and Tractor Supply Co. in Haines City May 15. She was 32 years old. Successful identified as a transgender woman.

Successful was a performer and a native of Kingston, Jamaica. She moved to Haines City by way of New York. She represented Jamaica in the 2014 Gay Caribbean USA pageant, shown on the pageant’s Facebook page wearing a Jamaican flag dress and high-heeled black boots.

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Badges of Courage: Local authorities across Central Florida and Tampa Bay aim in the direction of tolerance, not discrimination

By : Anna M. Johnson
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The Orlando Police Department Headquarters is tucked away inconspicuously on the Amway side of I-4. The “Ultimate Improvement Project” construction blocks most of the adjacent parking, leaving the closest available open spaces directly under the overpass. A stone staircase leads to the office.

Inside, all visitors are required to wear bright neon visitor passes. There is a small gift shop that sells police merchandise right next to the enclosed information desk. It is called the “Cop Shop.”

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Orlando Police Department introduces Transgender Person policy

By : Jeremy Williams
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Orlando – The Orlando Police Department announced in a press release Nov. 6 that it will adopt new Transgender Persons procedures to ensure that all officers are in line with the agencies policy “to treat all people with dignity and respect.”

“Orlando is a city that embraces diversity and welcomes people of all ages, races, religions and sexual orientations,” OPD Media Relations stated in an email. “Mayor Buddy Dyer and Commissioner Patty Sheehan, in particular, have worked diligently to have an inclusive government that fosters diversity by establishing programs, ordinances and initiatives that benefit the LGBT community.”

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