ACLU files complaint against RCPD for outing Ellsworth sergeant - KOTA Territory News

ACLU files complaint against Rapid City PD for "outing" Ellsworth sergeant



Matthew Horn

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against the Rapid City Police Department after two officers had a hand in getting an Air Force sergeant tossed out of the military for being a lesbian.

Last November, police went to Jene' Newsome's Rapid City home to serve an out-of-state warrant on Cheryl Hutson, who lived at the same house.

When police couldn't find Hutson they called Newsome at Ellsworth Air Force Base for help.  
"I got several phone calls from an officer asking me to come home," Newsome said.
After delaying for several hours Newsome finally arrived home to find the police and Hutson inside.  Since Newsome wasn't wanted for anything, you would think her involvement was over.  "Other than them trying to get me to help them out, I wasn't involved at all," she said.
But police noticed an Iowa marriage certificate showing that the two women were married.  Despite the fact that the marriage had nothing to do with the arrest, Officer Jeremy Stauffacher and Detective Tom Garinger sent that information to the Ellsworth AFB Office of Special Investigations.

This prompted the military to discharge Newsome for violating the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gays in the military. 
Newsome believes that the police did this as payback because she didn't help them arrest her wife.  "He (a police officer) informed me that he saw a marriage certificate on the kitchen table and he said he knew how the military worked and he'd let OSI handle it," Newsome explained.

Chief of Police Steve Allender said he wasn't going to hash out the details of the complaint on television, claiming it was between the department and Newsome.  "I'll just say when a member of the Air Force is involved in an incident, we have a long standing policy to report those occurrences to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations," Allender said.

Newsome had an impeccable nine-year military record as a munitions specialist.  While she got an honorable discharge, any possibility of a career and a retirement plan worth at least a half million dollars are gone.

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