Dallas gays say they may soon take to the streets as unarmed vigilantes -like gay activists have done in San Francisco and Houston -if violence against gays in Oak Lawn doesn’t abate or if the police don’t take action to stop the attacks.
Police say they have received numerous complaints charging that gangs of Oak Lawn youths have stepped up their attacks on gays who are caught walking from bars to their cars. The violence has the Dallas Gay Alliance concerned, and president Don Baker says the alliance is considering a vigilante program.
Baker contends Dallas police have just muddled the situation with tactics that threaten the gay community and don’t alleviate the tension. Baker has approached Dallas Police Chief Glen King, seeking the inclusion of a “sensitization” course at the Dallas Police Academy to train what Baker terms “excessively macho cops.”
The police, however, seem disinclined to include such a course in the curriculum.
John Driscoll, police tactical squad chief, says police have increased their profile in the Oak Lawn gay bar district to protect gays from muggers who attack bar patrons when they return to their cars.
Many gays are skeptical of police intentions. In the two months since the new tactics began, few muggers have been caught, but police have cracked down on jaywalkers on Cedar Springs.
At issue is whether the police are not in fact protecting the gays, but merely harassing them, since gays are now getting mugged and getting jaywalking citations. Police adamantly deny they are harassing the gays.