Video Shows PA State Trooper in Aggressive Altercation with Philadelphia LGBTQ+ Leaders

Still from the video shows a PA state trooper detaining Darius McLean, acting COO of the William Way LGBT Community Center.

In a disturbing incident that has sparked widespread concern, video has emerged of a tense confrontation involving a Pennsylvania State trooper and two notable figures within the Philadelphia LGBTQ+ community on Saturday. The footage, which rapidly gained traction after being shared on social media, captures a traffic stop that escalated into a confrontation with Celena Morrison-McLean, the Executive Director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, at its center.

On the evening of March 2nd, along the Vine Street Expressway, Morrison-McLean found herself in an encounter with law enforcement that would quickly escalate beyond a routine traffic stop. According to sources, the stop was initiated for a minor traffic violation, specifically failing to use headlights and tailgating. Darius McLean, Morrison-McLean’s spouse and the acting COO of the William Way LGBT Community Center, was also involved, having been in a following vehicle at the time.

The situation took a turn when, according to Morrison-McLean’s sister, the officer’s demeanor became confrontational, prompting Morrison-McLean to start recording the encounter. The footage she captured—a chilling testament to the event—allegedly shows the officer escalating the situation, including drawing a taser and physically confronting Morrison-McLean.

Accusations have surfaced from Morrison-McLean of the officer not only employing physical force but also drawing his firearm during the altercation. The officer is heard in the video stating that both McLean and Morrison-McLean were being arrested for resisting, leading to their subsequent detention and charges of disorderly conduct.

Their detention has raised significant alarm, particularly given Morrison-McLean’s transgender identity, adding a layer of complexity and concern regarding her treatment and safety in police custody. The incident has ignited outrage and calls for accountability, reaching as far as suggestions for the governor’s intervention.

Philadelphia Mayor Cherelle Parker took to social media to express her concerns and call for a thorough investigation. “​​Earlier today, a Pennsylvania State Police Trooper executed a car stop on the Vine Street Expressway in Philadelphia, reportedly for a Motor Vehicle Code violation. Celena Morrison, the City’s executive director of the Office of LGBT Affairs, was in the vehicle that was stopped.”

“A video circulating on social media that depicts a portion of the incident is very concerning to me, and I will have no further comment until the investigation has been completed.”

The incident has rallied LGBTQ+ leaders and allies, including Tyrell Brown, the Executive Director of galaei, who emphasized the community’s collective effort to ensure transparency and safety for Morrison and all involved. Brown, speaking to our partners at the Philadelphia Gay News, pointed out the harsh reality that holding an official title does not shield the queer community from mistreatment and stressed the necessity for accessible safety and support mechanisms for everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

At the time of reporting, the Pennsylvania State Police commented only that an investigation is ongoing, and inquiries directed to the Philadelphia Police Department were referred to their public affairs office.

This recent event has ignited a discussion about the importance of accountability, the need for protective measures for the LGBTQ+ community, and the ongoing struggle for respect and equality. It serves as a reminder of the work that remains in ensuring safety and equity for all, regardless of one’s position or identity.

This story is developing.

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