Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Barry Scott's Struggle for Justice Continues

Almost two years later Barry Scott's battle for justice is still being fought. Here is an open letter we recieved from Scott this morning:

Upon arriving in Boston in ‘81, I immediately organized the first radio station AIDS Walk team; created the “Aim For The Heart” Radiothon, raising a million dollars; produced a concert series, including the sold-out “Lost 45s Against AIDS” starring the Captain & Tennille; planned and provided music for the Fenway Men’s Event; hosted the first 3 years of the Pride Tree lighting; used connections to secure artists like Cher, Dionne Warwicke and Martha Wash for events too numerous to mention. I never expected anything back; I felt thrilled to be helping others. However, two years after my partner and I were abused by the Provincetown Police, I feel compelled to express disappointment in our community.

The Gay & Lesbian community views Provincetown, Massachusetts as a place to hold hands, go to the beach, dance and relax. While that might be true, two of your members were beaten by the Provincetown Police during a backyard party, details of which are documented at http://mysite.verizon.net/freebarryscott/provincetown.html. This was not the only case of abuse by the Provincetown Police, during my first visit to the Orleans District Court, 3 workers warned us that ‘this has been happening for years’ and ‘we hope you do something to send a message.’ As someone with integrity, I tried to hold Provincetown Police and town officials accountable for their attack on Bryan and me. I was arrested for speaking in a private backyard (which is unconstitutional), kicked repeatedly by untrained cops (so hard my sneaker flew off) and smashed face first into a house—while not resisting arrest. I had no reason to do so as I am a radio professional and had done nothing wrong. My partner, when he asked what they were doing to me, was put in handcuffs. He had just fallen down stairs and was walking with a cane, yet they threw him on a cruiser and held him, without charges, for hours in the Provincetown jail. They said he was drunk (in a private backyard) and refused him a breathalyzer. This is illegal and could happen to you!

I spent over $50,000 in legal costs fighting those criminals; only to discover the Cape Cod legal system, controlled by District Attorney Michael O’Keefe, (known to be corrupt) makes it impossible to win a police abuse case. In the end, a biased judge brought in for the day, enabled a jury not to hear the true story and I was found guilty of misdemeanor charges used to cover the beating. My cost for those charges was $690. >From the community, who cares about Provincetown beyond reason, we received little support. We heard people state ‘we deserved what we got.’ Many said: ‘drop it already, you’re hurting the town.’ We lost many friends, who didn’t want to get involved with our fight; they just wanted ‘their town’ to remain what it was to them. An owner of a local Gay & Lesbian paper asked me ‘why didn’t I keep my mouth shut?’ This shows an embarrassing disregard for the Constitution; it made me think our community doesn’t deserve marriage rights. NO ONE should be arrested and brutalized in a private backyard for saying anything. A person would have to be filled with self hatred to believe this is legal.

Provincetown, the idyllic town, does not exist. Ask Richard Hall, beaten into a coma weeks later, while the Provincetown Police did nothing to find the perpetrators (even though they called him a fag). Our Attorney General’s office quietly paid his medical bills, knowing the town had done wrong. Ask Daniel Coburn, who had rocks thrown at him and was called a faggot. When reported to the Provincetown Police, they arrested him for an outstanding vehicle ticket! ‘Faggot’ was later said to be free speech, while the police beat me for supposedly saying ‘We hate the police’—which I did not. Ask David Jones, beaten by the police because he urinated behind an abandoned building; Ask the biker who had a bike thrown at him during the AIDS ride; Ask the couple who recently (thanks to the complicit silence from the Gay & Lesbian community) were victims when one of them had a seizure and the Provincetown Police would not allow his medically trained partner to administer to him. The partner was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. This could happen to you!

Ask why the only complainant, Yvonne Cabral, owner of the P-Town trolley company, started the anti-gay marriage amendment in Provincetown? Ask why Ed Foley of 4 Holway Avenue in Provincetown changed his story and was allowed to perjure himself while reporters stared open-mouthed when the judge refused cross-examination. Ask why Provincetown Police Officer, Glen Enos, was rubbing Ed Foley’s back before he lied on the stand? Ask why two Provincetown EMTs came forward one year later, three days before trial, suddenly remembering statements I supposedly made. Ask why a juror later contacted me saying I wasn’t guilty, but the judge refused to investigate! Ask why the Gay press stopped reporting these facts when told by the Provincetown Business Guild that advertising support would be withdrawn and then ask if turning your back on members of your own community is worth keeping your town unsafe; for this will enable the Provincetown Police to repeat their actions.

I ask you to rethink your position on these cases that have occurred in your beloved town. My partner and I finally sold our home there, for a loss—as the housing market in Provincetown is worse than it is statewide—heading for a peaceful cabin by a lake in New Hampshire. I continue to appeal. Unfortunately, I don’t fight for the community any longer; I fight because it is the right thing to do. I have more integrity in my little finger than the Provincetown Police and Town Manager Sharon Lynn have in their entire bodies. Win or lose, I can hold my head up high that I tried.

With thanks to our friends and family who remained solidly behind us and a few of the enlightened members of our community who understood why this case was important and stood with us; I ask you to wake up. I care enough to worry that you might be next.

Barry Scott


jelly said...

I've never been to P-town, I hope to go some time with the wife.
And having a place where we can openly hold hands or give each other a quick kiss in public and not be stared at like freaks.

Good post.

John said...

You should come to Northampton, too.

Northampton is famous for large lesbian population.

Massachusetts is very friendly place for everyone.

jelly said...

some day perhaps....
massachusetts seems very cool.