Woman Declines to Cooperate With Police in the Investigation of Her Partner So Police Report Her to Air Force as a Lesbian

Jene Newsome, 28, had succeeded in living under the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy of the Air Force for years despite the fact that she lived with her lesbian partner in Rapid City, South Dakota. However, her nine-year career as an aircraft armament system craftsman came to an end when members of the Rapid City police department outed her as a lesbian in what appears to be an act of raw retaliation. Police Chief Steve Allender has supported his officers’ decision to report Newsome.

When police approached Newsome with an arrest warrant for her partner (who was wanted on theft charges in Fairbanks, Alaska), they found her uncooperative at work at Ellsworth Air Force base. She refused to give them keys to their home. Officers, however, proceeded to peer into the home through the windows and spotted a marriage license from Iowa on the kitchen table. The couple had married in Iowa when same-sex marriage became legal in that state.

She is now suing the police department with the help of the ACLU.

Police Chief Steve Allender stood by his officers and indicated that the officers were compelled to share such information with the Air Force: “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. It was a part of the case, part of the report and the Air Force was privileged to the information.”

Why? This is not a federal crime. Since when are officers compelled to report matters of potential internal discipline to an employer? If the officers hoped for greater cooperation from the gay community, this is hardly the way to secure it.

Newsome’s partner is now out on bail with one felony and three misdemeanor counts for theft stemming from an incident last year in Fairbanks.

For the full story, click here.

30 thoughts on “Woman Declines to Cooperate With Police in the Investigation of Her Partner So Police Report Her to Air Force as a Lesbian”

  1. I think that the distinction IraqVet is they were looking for a particular person. I do not believe stock certificates or weed or anything that could fit between the pages of books. I think the scope of the report went beyond the initial justification. Also see the part here about the window. If the person had been at the house standing in front of the certificate, would they still have written this in the report? Probably not. They would not have been pissed and then taken retaliatory measures.

    I agree with you that this is a base that contains Nuclear weapons, airships etc as well as a recon service center, where highly classified personnel has access to the most classified and secure computer network in the world.

    If memory serves me correctly, where the room is located you have three levels of security with the final access via thumb and retina entry.

  2. I think most people simply don’t understand how the police interact with the military authorities when an investigation involves a service member.

    In this case, it was a foregone conclusion that the Rapid City PD would share its investigative report with the Military Police, regardless of its content. It’s just what they always do: if the cops have dealings with a service member, they tell the military, as a matter of routine. Because the military isn’t “just an employer”; they OWN you, and the cops talk to them just like they’d talk to your parents if you were a wayward teenager. And since the people at that particular Air Force base are in the business of operating nuclear bombers, the military takes an especially acute interest whenever they have run-ins with the local constabulary.

    So, as soon as the cops saw the marriage certificate, it would have probably taken some measure of internal covering-up and policy deviation to AVOID telling the military. It would be pretty negligent for the Rapid City PD report to fail to note that the fugitive was married.

    Not that I don’t think the cops enjoyed ruining her career, but they would have ended up sharing the information regardless.

  3. This entire department could do with some psychological testing directed toward the mind specifically in its conative function i.e. impulse, desire, volition, cognitive and emotional functioning … starting, most emphatically, with the Chief. It wouldn’t do any harm, and quite possibly would be very helpful, to also include some psychological determination as to the “culture of the workplace” studies. Bullies with guns and badges, especially those giving orders to underlings, need to be identified and removed from active duty thus ensuring the safety of the citizens paying for law and order services with their tax dollars.

  4. Duh,
    There will be a lawsuit. The ACLU is probably going through the administrative procedures before being left with a civil suit.

  5. There are three different elements to this case.

    1) The investigation into a crime by the police

    2) The marriage of the two women

    3) The military forcing out gays/lesbians

    However, these facts do NOT intersect.

    The police investigation into the crime of shoplifting in no way involved, or should have involved, whether her and her partner were married. That is simply immaterial to the case.

    Whether or not the active duty members roommate, or spouse, was involved in a crime is immaterial to the service. Can the person fulfill their obligations is all they care about if the person wasn’t involved.

    The ONLY reason these two intersected is because the police department went out of their way to MAKE it intersect. Unlawful? No. A CIVIL case? YES.

  6. From what I can find, there is no “law suit”. The ACLU filed a complaint with the Internal Affairs Division of the Rapid City Police Department.

  7. I hope the ACLU is successful in their lawsuit because the fact that they were married should has no bearing on her ability to perform her job in the Air Force. The DADT policy must be changed before more people are harmed.

  8. Because she wouldn’t give them her keys? How could they expect or compel her to do such a thing?

  9. 10 USC § 654

    “(b) Policy.— A member of the armed forces shall be separated from the armed forces under regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense if one or more of the following findings is made and approved in accordance with procedures set forth in such regulations:…”

    “(3) That the member has married or attempted to marry a person known to be of the same biological sex.”

    This article starts out with Prof. Turley stating “Jene Newsome, 28, had succeeded in living under the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy of the Air Force for years…”

    I disagree. I don’t believe she lived under Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell. I think she violated the law, and I think she knew that she violated the law. When she got married, she made a public declaration of her homosexuality.

  10. I’m sure that through the “discovery” process the ACLU will be able to give all the bullies in the Rapid City P D a taste of their own medicine. I bet there is a great deal of information many of those officers would rather not become public knowledge … too bad buckoes.

  11. Perhaps another reason to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

  12. Funny I have been filing FOIA requests for information from the police, and they have been using the excuse of privacy laws to keep the info under wraps. (Info that would make the cops look bad.)

    They can’t have it both ways…..

  13. So… if Jesus wanted to bring His Twelve Apostles to the prom, the school would cancel the event ?

  14. Mespo – “When one is working for the Almighty, anything can be justified.”

    You just summed up 2,000 years of fear, pain and torment, all in one sentence. Nice.

  15. [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTVpxxzb2Dc&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

  16. This story clanks with the same religious indignation as the Texas prom debacle. Unable to get what it feels entitled to, in spite of well settled law,the government resorts to retribution in the form of stigmatization. This time, though, the results aren’t a missed dance, but loss of employment. That the Chief believes nothing was done inappropriately speaks to the power of self-righteousness grounded in religious approbation. When one is working for the Almighty, anything can be justified. As we’re constantly told, “with God anything is possible” – anything, indeed.

  17. Facts uncovered during a possible arrest? Hmm….This should prove very interesting. I’d love to hear what FF LEO has to say.

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