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Sgt. Jene Newsome Would Like $800,000 and an Apology for the Cops Outing Her

Sgt. Jene Newsome, the nine-year Air Force veteran, was discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell when police in South Dakota investigating her wife’s alleged crimes reported their marriage to Newsome’s commanding officers, via fax, on Nov. 24. Cops say they did it because Newsome was suspected of harboring a fugitive and was “very uncooperative.” Newsome says it was retaliation for refusing to help track down her wife. And now the police department is very, very sorry — but stop saying they did something wrong!

“It’s an emotional issue, and it’s unfortunate that Newsome lost her job, but I disagree with the notion that our department might be expected to ignore the license, or not document the license or withhold it from the Air Force once we did know about it,” police chief Steve Allender said earlier. “It was a part of the case, part of the report, and the Air Force was privileged to the information.”

In a statement released Friday in conjunction with an internal report on the matter, he’s standing by that conclusion, but hey, the whole thing is regrettable! “There have been public accusations that the detective released the information regarding sexual orientation out of vengeance or for punitive effect. I cannot know what is in the hearts of people or what truly motivates them, but I am very concerned with how emotions, prejudices, political or religious views may affect the decisions made by not only our officers, but all people in government positions.”

Well that should help Newsome sleep well at night. What might also help her sleep? A cool $800,000, which is what Newsome’s attorneys at the ACLU are asking for from Mayor Alan Hanks and the Rapid City city council to compensate Newsome’s financial losses. (The request came a few hours before Chief Allender’s eight-page report.) Oh, and she also wants an apology, and a new police policy instituted barring the police from releasing information about anyone’s sexual orientation.

Which seems like a good enough idea, particularly because Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was enacted to protect gay and lesbian service members who keep quiet about their sexuality — a stupid rule that Newsome was actually following.

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  • Mary


  • Claire

    I hope Newssome gets all that she’s asking for, because it seems like the police department’s misconduct was truly unnecessary, erroneous, and detrimental. And I hope law enforcements finds her wife.

  • Klarth

    Oh, girl…this isn’t going to happen. While I really hate what happened to her, as it was explained on the last post about her here, she did break the rule, and the rule did still apply, as it has yet to be repealed, and it isn’t going to be retroactive to cover people already dishonorably discharged. I don’t know that she has a leg to stand on….

  • Axel

    Klarth, exactly which rule did she break? If you’re referring to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

  • Michael

    @Klarth: That “rule” doesn’t cover the police from intentionally getting her discharged from the military.

  • Sammie

    She didn’t break any rule. Don’t ask don’t tell, as I know it doesn’t ban people from being gay, its just that they can’t talk about it with anyone in their ranks.

    The police are the people who told, not her.

  • Knowledge

    The Police Department knew exactly what would happen when they outed her to the Air Force. I’d wager a bet that it was intentional, and it was retaliation because she didn’t help police locate her wife. If she were heterosexual, she would still have a job right now. It’s wrong and I too hope she is successful in her suit. Third party outings should be revamped, and in some, most, or all instances they shouldn’t even be considered because of the unfortunate consequences that are likely to result and the fact that it’s like a ticking time bomb waiting to happen. These outing can be born of retaliation and retribution against a gay elisted man or lesbian woman. It’s wrong.

  • Cam

    See now, if DADT didn’t exist, the police wouldn’t have to worry about things like getting sued for passing along information. So I think the Police force should be marching right with the gay groups to repeal DADT.

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