There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Pepin Tuma, a 33-year-old gay man, was discussing the recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates with a few friends as they walked to Cobalt on July 26. At some point in the pre-bar jaunt, the Washington Blade reports, Tuma loudly condemned the alleged bigotry in the case in a sing-song voice: “I hate the police!” he declared. “I hate the police!”
A D.C. police officer, Tuma says, responded with some hate-speech of his own—-and a swift arrest. Second District Officer J. Culp, Tuma says, “charged 40-50 feet” toward him, “pushed him against a transformer box,” arrested him, then told him to “shut up, faggot.”
Tuma’s arrest, the Blade reports, is currently being investigated on the orders of D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier. Meanwhile, Culp may have picked the wrong group of gays to fuck with: Tuma and the two friends on the scene, Luke Platzer and Dave Stetson, are all attorneys. The exact reason for Tuma’s arrest is still unclear. But while he initially agreed to pay a fine “as part of a ‘post and forfeit’ plea” which helped him avoid cell block time, he now says he intends to fight all charges in court:
[Tuma] said police took him to the Second District station at Connecticut and Idaho avenues, N.W., near the National Cathedral, where he was booked and released about four hours later. He said his release came after he agreed to pay a fine as part of a “post and forfeit” plea, which is an acknowledgement of possible guilt.
Tuma said he agreed to the post and forfeit plea after officers who processed his arrest told him he would be forced to remain in a holding cell before being presented before a magistrate in D.C. Superior Court had he pleaded not guilty to the charge.
He said he had a longstanding commitment that morning and did not want to miss it by having to appear in court. Tuma said he plans to exercise his right to withdraw the post and forfeit the plea at a later date and fully contest the charge in court.
Tuma’s lawyer friends, too, are committed to fighting the charge:
D.C. attorney Luke Platzer, one of Tuma’s two friends to witness the arrest, said he and a second friend, attorney Dave Stetson, were approached by a D.C. police sergeant shortly after police drove Tuma to the station to process his arrest. Platzer said the sergeant, whose last name is Geer, told them he observed Tuma attempting to “resist” arrest in a disorderly way and asked them if they would give a statement confirming his observation.
“We said, ‘No, we did not see that at all,’” Platzer told the Blade. “We thought he was trying to trick us into saying that there was physical resistance by Pepin to the arrest. That is not true.”