Culture

Dominican Cops Are Arresting LGBTQ So They Can Ask For Bribes

Last Sunday, squads of heavily armed Dominican National Police officers conducted a sweep of at least 4 public plazas in Santo Domingo. During their sweep of Plaza Duarte, a popular LGBQT cruising spot in the city’s historic colonial quarter, officers detained over 20 individuals. Alina Estrella witnessed the roundup and recorded the above video, which shows  scores of men in the back of a truck being led away by a convoy of police vehicles. The video has gone viral on Dominican social media.

One of the individuals detained, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of reprisal, said that he was sitting in the park holding his partner’s hand when police officers rounded them up.

“Some men immediately bribed the police officers, so they were let go,” the witness said. “My partner and I didn’t have much money on us, so we were paraded around the city on the back of the truck and then taken to the police station.”

Both those detained and the human rights lawyers who organized to release them insist that, once in lockup, the men were denied the right to make phone calls, were charged with no crime, and were only let go that evening if they paid a bribe, or called in a favor.

“The police officers did this without the permission of the prosecutors, you can tell because the moment the city prosecutors office woke up on Monday morning, everyone got released,” said Guillermo Peña, director of Dominican human rights observatory, COIN. Peña was present at the police station.

Yimbret Telemín, and LGBTQ activist who was also at the jail, points to a larger pattern of police repression and arbitrary extra-legal detention.

“The National Police are a predatory organization,” Telemîn claims. “They get paid nothing in wages, so they do these arbitrary sweeps as a way of making a quick buck. You get out of jail quickly if you pay, or if you know somebody. This is not the first dragnet that has targeted members of our community.”

Spokesmen for the Dominican National Police Force have so far declined to comment.

Dominican cops are indeed paid miserable wages. Privates make the equivalent of 125 dollars a month, and this correspondent has personally been solicited for bribes by several officials on multiple occasions. The practice, known as a picoteo, or hen-pecking, is meant to supplement the officer’s meager wages, but often ends up targeting members of marginalized communities.

Our anonymous witness said he suffered no physical abuse and was released later that evening after a 500 peso bribe (approximately 11 dollars). But the injustice of the situation isn’t lost on him.

“How is it possible that I get detained just for sitting on a bench with my partner?” he fumed.

Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

Culture

Latino Police Officer In New Jersey Is Setting Up Drive-By Birthdays And The Children Are Loving Them

Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

The various lockdown orders across the country are forcing children to stay home during their birthdays. This also means that people aren’t able to come over the celebrate with them. One police officer in New Jersey is making what could be a sad time for the kids a time to remember.

Police officer Luis Vasquez is giving children in Fair Lawn, New Jersey a birthday to remember while in quarantine.

The Fair Lawn Police Department is joining other departments in performing birthday drive-bys. If you have a child ages 10 or younger, celebrating a birthday during this self-quarantine, please reach out to P.O. Luis Vasquez at lvasquez@fairlawnpd.com We will make every effort to set up a social distancing celebratory drive-by with lights and sirens! Hopefully, this will help make your child's day a little brighter like Javen in this video 💙 Happy Birthday Javen 🎈===========#flpd #ourcommunity

Posted by Fair Lawn Police Department on Monday, April 6, 2020

How awesome is that? It is clear that the children are really enjoying the special show of love and celebration for their birthdays. They might not be able to jump in a bouncy castle with their friends but they can still feel special with first responders giving them a special show.

The gesture is warming hearts all over in the comments section.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It truly does look so incredibly special. All of that special attention coming from the heroes children look up to is amazing.

Some people familiar with the police department are sending P.O. Vasquez some special love.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

It is very sweet to know that one man in the department is making sure that children have memorable birthdays right now. It is clear that P.O. Vasquez is really looking after his community during some of the craziest times.

People are touched by how generous the police department is with their time in making everyone’s birthday better.

Credit: Fair Lawn Police Department / Facebook

This is a very generous and kind gesture to give to the community. There is no doubt a lot of people who are scared of everything happening in the world right now and having some special attention on your birthday must feel nice.

Happy birthday to every person spending their special day in quarantine. We love you.

READ: A Woman Threw A Lowrider-Themed Party For Her Son’s First Birthday And It’s Just Too Much For Our Hearts

Dominican Fashion Designer Jenny Polanco Dies From COVID-19 Complications

Fierce

Dominican Fashion Designer Jenny Polanco Dies From COVID-19 Complications

jennypolanco / Instagram

Dominicans and the fashion world are mourning the death of Dominican fashion designer Jenny Polanco. The world-renowned designer had just traveled to Spain when she fell ill. People are showing their love and appreciation of Polanco on social media in a time when physical activities have been limited.

Dominican fashion designer Jenny Polanco has died from COVID-19.

The Dominican Republic’s public health minister Rafael Sánchez announced Polanco’s death. Polanco is the first Latino celebrity who has died from the virus. Polanco is among the first six people to die from the novel coronavirus on the Caribbean island.

Miami Fashion Week dedicated a tribute post to the Caribbean fashion designer.

The designer showed a collection at the last Miami Fashion Week and her sudden loss has saddened those associated with the event. Polanco was able to celebrate her Caribbean roots with the classic avant-garde style. Her take on fashion was breathtaking in its simplicity coupled with their energetic shapes.

Fashion fans are offering loving tributes to Polanco.

“May Dominican designer jenny Polanco rest in peace,” the Twitter user wrote. “The coronavirus took a creative, colorful, beach mind.”

Polanco, like many people who have taken ill, had recently traveled.

A lot of people who have tested positive in the first wave of infections in different countries had recently traveled to a country where the virus was spreading. Since the start of the outbreak, some countries have closed their borders and set travel restrictions as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19.

If you are feeling sick, call your doctor and tell them your symptoms. You can also visit the CDC for more information about COVID-19 and what you can do to prevent catching the virus and what to do if you get sick.

READ: Someone Turned Cardi B’s Coronavirus Rant Into A Remix Now It’s On The Billboard Charts