Newsmakers focuses on gay hate crime, gun violence

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The aftermath of the Orlando shooting has directed focus on hate crimes in the gay community, which have increased 20 percent in the past year.

Guests on Eyewitness Newsmakers included LAPD Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala, Chief Charlie Beck's liaison to the LGBTQ Community. She said that in this past week, the chief has issued a special order on reporting hate crime, the result of meetings with members of the community concerned such crimes are under-reported.

"This reporting procedure that we initiated this past Tuesday, Special Order Number 12 from the chief of police, will better capture hate crimes and hate incidents within the city of Los Angeles," Girmala said.

The FBI's numbers on hate crime show that LGBT people are now twice as likely to be targeted as African Americans, and the rate has surpassed that of crimes against Jews. One explanation for this is that while most of society is more accepting of the community, those who are not have become more polarized and angry.

Guest Dave Garcia, director of public policy and community building from the LGBT Center, is another program guest. He said guns have been a problem in the gay community long before Orlando. Guns are a major factor in the high-suicide rate and domestic partner violence.

From the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, Equality California, Rick Zbur said what happened in Orlando, "was a call to action for our community."

His organization has made what he describes as common sense gun laws its top priority.

Eyewitness Newsmakers airs Sunday at 11 a.m. on ABC7.
Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.