LOCAL News :: Civil and Human Rights : Crime and Police : Gender and Sexuality


May 1, 2007, Capaha Park-Freedom Corner

Denise had a display set up honoring her Grandmother who had passed away a year ago that day. Pride (rainbow) flags were up & nearby.

10:30am: A man showed up (Age 48-50/Caucasian). The man seemed to be drunk, Denise explained the display (& it's significance) to him. He left for about 25-30 minutes.
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Around 11am: When he came back Denise was with her mother & niece (Jacklynn) at the playground area of Capaha Park. Denise noticed him [told her mother to look out for him] - went up the hill - (passing him in the grass) - & got her camera. On the way back with her camera, she took a picture at a distance of his vehicle. Then, closer to him, she yelled "Hey" & took a picture of the man & then he ducked. (She noted his license # on her hand) [This all happened between 10:30am-11am]

Between 11am-12pm Denise's mom went to get lunch & some (concrete) blocks for the display. Denise stayed there with her niece & colored under the rainbow/Pride flag.

Noon: Having lunch at the playground area with mom & niece. The man came back and got out of his car. He looked at the display and then ad Denise. Denise's mom said "Don't do anything". Denise replied, "I'm not, I'm inviting him to lunch." Denise thought it would keep him from messing with the display. She hollered over the fence the "he was more than welcome to have lunch with them & break bread". The man looked at her, & then up at the display. He stood there for roughly 2 minutes. Then he got in his car, sat there for a few minutes then left again.

After that Denise finished lunch & went up to the display with her mom and niece. At the display Denise had these things (props): Rubber Koosh balls and a purple dowel stick. She was twirling it like a baton in a non-threatening way. As her mom & niece left, Denise's step daughter (her ex-wife's daughter) stopped by to be supportive. Also during the course of the afternoon. 15-20 people stopped by (or waved/honked in passing

4:30pm (or so): Denise was alone sitting at the display playing with a Koosh.

The man from earlier in the morning walked up really fast, said he did not want the display there because he helped build "freedom corner". Denise was still sitting, she reached over & turned down the radio. He told her his story (he's a legion member). He said she had no right to be there. She explained for the second time what the display was about & why she was there. He said "You told me your mother died." she said it was her Grandmother. He claimed that she lied. She got up & showed him her Grandmothers' picture. He was clearly agitated & seemed about to "go off". She showed him the plaque with the inscription and asked him "wasn't this what they fought for?" He got angry & said if the display was here tomorrow he would tear it down. Denise said that it was only for one day "in honor of my Grandmother who passed away a year ago today. Then she went & sat

At that point he went to the display & said that he wanted it removed now - he started ripping/tearing it down. As he was doing this he said "you need to get your faggoty ass out". Denise's camera was on the edge of the park's memorial. Denise bent down to pick it up. He pushed her back & she took a photo as he was defacing/destroying the display.

As she took the picture his left hand was on something (maybe the flagpole) & he swung around counterclockwise & struck her in the skull twice. Denise then head-butted him in the abdomen. They fell over the bricks & the rest of the display. He was trying to get on top of her in the struggle & she grabbed the dowel stick from the display & hit him in the side area & knocked him forward further over the bricks. The camera fell against the bricks & cracked...she picked it up and took more pictures. They struggled again - he wanted the camera- and he knocked it out of her hands. It fell to the ground & he picked it up - Denise had gotten his cell phone during this struggle, but was unable to turn it on to call 911...

At that time two women came up. One was dark-haired with glasses (caucasian), the other had brownish/red hair (caucasian). The dark-haired woman was yelling to "break it up" The man, still had her camera- and Denise yelled "give me my camera. I have his cell phone & I want my camera." Denise gave the woman his cell phone and the man gave her the camera. She returned them to the rightful owners. She then asked Denise if she was okay. She said that the police were on the way. Another woman came up (African American). She said she had called the police & had she said she had witnessed the assault. The other two women claimed to have seen a struggle. Then the police arrived. (6 officers approx.)

The police ushered the man off to talk to him. The officer (1st) who came to speak to Denise said that they had gotten 12 calls about "the display". Denise said that "That was good, at least they were paying attention." Another officer (2nd) came to speak to Denise and told her the man's story & that she should take down the display because the man was upset & 'felt offended'. Denise wanted to put the display back up.. She said: "You are basically wanting me to go back in the closet?" then added, "And I'm not going back in the closet". Then the officer (2nd) threatened to arrest her for loitering. (He was pointing his index finger at her as he said this). In response to his physical action Denise stepped back. The officer said to "come here" and she said "if you stop being aggressive" (also said that his "neck was turning 3 shades of red while he was talking to me"). Then the officer seemed to tone down. He walked off to [apparently] arrest the man who had assaulted her.

Denise took pictures.

The original officer (1st) tried to confiscate the camera, but Denise placed it between
her legs & by this point was sitting on the ground. The officers seemed to be more calm & there was talking/listening at an easier pace.

The officer (1st) once again explained to Denise the man's side of things. He told denise that "we should be adults" and that "you should consider not having the display there at 'freedom corner'). Denise said she had done several displays there in the past and would do so again in the future (*1). Another officer (3rd) came up and asked Denise if she wanted to press charges...Denise said "Hell yes" and then the three officers talked amongst themselves for a bit, as she was working on setting the display back up. They came back and told her about the report filing procedure... asked if she was going to go to the hospital - she said "no" at first and then "yes, I think I should"... They told her the procedure about him (the assailant) & jail & asked if she had any questions... then they asked Denise what time she was leaving, she said 6pm. Then they walked away to leave as she finished returning her display to original condition.

She went after a few minutes to the officers before they left to ask about the assailants name. They told her it would be in the Police Report that she should receive in about 5-7 business days. She thanked them & they left.

Amended Extra Detail:
*1---- Denise explained to the officer (2nd) that he was coming off as threatening, and mentioned again that 'his neck was still turning 3 shades of red". She also said that the officer (1st) was easier to talk to. He told her "if she didn't like his conduct she could take it up with his superior". He then briskly walked off to talk to the officer (3rd).
Denise's Personal Statement:

"I feel if I had not been in a dress; had I been in t-shirt/jeans attire, my treatment would have been harsher from the Cape Girardeau Police Department. (i.e. the second officer I spoke to) than it was. I felt like I was treated as the perpetrator of a crime instead of the victim of an assault & hate crime. I felt that my Grandmother's memory was dishonored, & that I suffered humiliation from the assaulter & the Cape Girardeau Police Department.

(Signed) Alice Denise Eaker (5-1-07)



So you used your dead grandma to make a point about being a lesbian. Rather than hide behind granny, have the courage of your convictions!

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-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)

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