A Fort Lauderdale police officer is now facing disciplinary measures over a traffic stop involving a transgendered individual who subsequently accused the officer of intentionally ‘mis-gendering’ him as a means of harassment.
The bizarre story centers around Officer James Brinton and a reckless driving citation he issued to 48-year-old Shelby Kendall of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
According to reports, the controversy began after Brinton noticed a Chevrolet Camaro drag racing a Ford Mustang and initiated a traffic stop as the driver of the black Camaro pulled into a Winn-Dixie parking lot.
During the stop Brinton issued Kendall a reckless driving citation for drag racing down the four-lane road, however, as he reviewed the license he was provided, he noticed what he believed to have been a clerical error made by DMV.
While the driver’s license provided by Kendall stated his sex was ‘female,’ Brinton dismissed this as nothing more than an error being that driver was clearly ‘male‘ and thus issued the citation while listing the reckless driver as a male.
No big deal right? Wrong…
Four days after Brinton issued the reckless driving citation, Kendall filed a complaint with the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s Internal Affairs, accusing Brinton of labeling him a male to ‘bully’ him.
Stating that he has been living as a woman since 2014, Kendall explained that “If I’ve done everything I need to do for the state of Florida to recognize me as a female, [Brinton] doesn’t have a right to purposely mis-gender me.”
Calling the simple mistake “inappropriate” and type of “bullying,” Kendall is now demanding Brinton be reprimanded.
“I wasn’t really contesting why I was pulled over,” Kendall said. “I was more contesting how I was treated.”
But according to Brinton, he wasn’t trying to bully the 48-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident. Instead, the officer said he believed the driver’s license information showing Kendall as female was a mistake, so he listed Kendall as male.
Kendall objected to the identification, but Brinton stood his ground.
“Well, for the purposes of this citation, you’re a male,” Brinton told Kendall, according to a police report.
Police investigators have suggested Brinton receive a written reprimand, but it is up to the city manager to make the final decision on how the officer will be disciplined.
LGBT activist Michael Rajner believes law enforcement officers should have to undergo more training on transgender issues as a result of the incident involving Brinton.
“What concerns me is that the officer felt it was not necessary for him to correct the [citation],” he said. “He robbed that individual of her dignity.”
In response to the complaint, Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione stated the following:
“[The department] is committed to the equal treatment of all of our neighbors and visitors.”
“We endeavor to take appropriate action if there are incidents discovered where it is alleged we veered from that position,” Maglione stated, adding “I believe the department’s actions concerning the investigation before the Citizens’ Police Review Board clearly illustrates our commitment.”
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