Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Atlanta Eagle Gets $1m for Bogus Police Raid

Atlanta, Georgia – The Altanta City Council has voted 14-0 to award the Atlanta Eagle Bar $1 million in response to a federal lawsuit filed by a private attorney on behalf of 19 clients unjustly arrested in a botched police raid last September, according to a report by WTVM News 9 and the Associate Press. The night of September 10, 2009, four-dozen police crashed the Underwear Night special event at the Atlanta Eagle, slamming patrons to the floor, using homophobic slurs, and arresting and detaining 62 people. Police targeted the gay bar on the pretext of illicit sex and drugs, allegations that were never proven. The owner of the Eagle, Richard Ramey, went immediately on the offense against the raid, saying to the Atlanta Journal Constitution on September 12, 2009, “Our problem is with the way our customers were treated,” Ramey told the Journal-Constitution in a Sept. 12, 2009 article. Nick Koperski, a bar patron present at the time of the raid, said in the same article, “I’m thinking, this is Stonewall. It’s like I stepped into the wrong decade.” The Atlanta Police Department refused to cooperate with an investigation by the Atlanta Citizens Council. Charges brought against employees and patrons either  failed to win convictions, collapsed for lack of evidence, or were otherwise dismissed, according to a report by EDGE.  Last March eight employees of the bar were found not guilty of trumped up charges by the Atlanta Police Department in a ruling handed down in Municipal Court. Investigations into the raid found that the Atlanta Police Department did not have a warrant to raid the bar on the night in question. Mandatory revisions to police procedures will be carried out in response to the settlement. The vindication of the Atlanta Eagle stands in sharp contrast to the outcome of the Fort Worth Police Department’s infamous Raid on the Rainbow Lounge just months before the Atlanta debacle. Like the Georgia raid, all charges against patrons arrested at the popular Fort Worth gay bar have been dropped without comment from the city. Unlike the Atlanta outcome, however, the Fort Worth Police Department has never issued a sufficient apology (in our opinion) or formally admitted any wrongdoing in the illicit raid on the 40th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, nor has the action of the FWPD ever been deemed wrong by an outside investigation. This has been in spite of the public action disciplining officers of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) for their part in the raid, and a formal apology issued by the executive of the TABC. What exempted the FWPD from disciplinary actions similar to the TABC?  Factors contributing to the non-resolution of the Fort Worth police raid may include a less-than-robust defense of bar patrons by the Rainbow Lounge ownership at the time of the bust, and the less aggressive approach Fort Worth gay leaders employed to bring the city and the police department to account. While there have been laudable actions in response to the Rainbow Lounge Raid, such as the establishment of a police liaison with the local LGBT community, and transgender protections added to municipal protection statutes, honesty about the motives and motivators behind the Fort Worth raid remain unspoken and unacknowledged. While we are glad the city of Fort Worth dropped charges against patrons charged in the arrests the night of the raid, including public intoxication and groping, the harm done by the raid in Cowtown has not been acknowledged by the powers that be, and therefore the LGBTQ community, and the individual Texans directly wronged remain unjustified. Justice for Atlanta, but how about for Fort Worth? We guess the mayor of Fort Worth has more control over the courts, the press, and the gay establishment in North Texas than the mayor of Atlanta. A good thing? You be the judge.

December 7, 2010 Posted by | Atlanta Eagle Bar Raid, Atlanta Police Department, Fort Worth Police Department, Gay Bar Raids, gay men, Georgia, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Media Issues, police brutality, Politics, Protests and Demonstrations, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stonewall Inn, Texas, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Atlanta Eagle Gets $1m for Bogus Police Raid

Fort Worth Pulls in its Horns: Charges Against Rainbow Lounge Raid Victims Dropped

Police and TABC subdue Chad Gibson during Rainbow Lounge Raid (Chuck Potter cell phone photo)

Fort Worth, Texas – Dallas Voice reports that charges against all the victims of the Fort Worth Police and TABC Raid against the Rainbow Lounge have been dropped by the city.  The infamous Raid took place on June 28, 2009, the 40th anniversary of an eerily similar bar bashing that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City’s Greenwich Village.  To recap: Officers of the Fort Worth Police and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided the newly-opened Rainbow Lounge, intimidating patrons, arresting men on charges of intoxication, and arresting Chad Gibson on a charge of assault against an officer.  Gibson was seriously wounded by arresting officers who slammed him to the concrete, and caused a brain hemorrhage.  Gibson has subsequently recovered.  The raiders contended that Gibson “groped” an officer in the course of the arrest.  While the TABC acted to discipline its officers, firing some of them for breaking policy during the raid, the Fort Worth Police have never admitted any wrong-doing in an incident that gave Fort Worth bad press throughout the nation and the world for colossal insensitivity at the very least, and, in the eyes of many, outright police brutality.  Chief Halstead of the FWPD made homophobic remarks that boomeranged on him and the city in the wake of the raid.  Dallas and Fort Worth LGBTQ communities protested the raid, drawing media attention for weeks.  In February, eight months after the raid, the city of Fort Worth pressed charges and scheduled trials for the gay men arrested that night.  Now, in a 180 degree reversal of direction, all charges against the Rainbow Lounge Raid Five have been dropped.  Jason Lamers, official spokesperson for the city of Fort Worth, issued this statement to the press: “The Class C misdemeanor charges from the Rainbow Lounge against George Armstrong, Dylan Brown, Chad Gibson and Jose Macias were dismissed yesterday by the city. As it is our official policy not to discuss municipal court prosecutions or litigation, the city will have no further comment.” The public intoxication charges against Armstrong, Brown, Macias, and Gibson were dropped, as well as the assault charge lodged against Gibson.  While something less than a full vindication of the victims of the raid, the action of the city amounts to an admission that the charges and the raid were without merit and were unjustified in the first place.  Fairness Fort Worth, Queer LiberAction, and many more activist groups which protested the raid have been proven right by this retreat on the part of the city.  “The Fort Worth Way,” the behind-the-scenes management of the city of Fort Worth by an oligarchic group of landed gentry and wealthy families, can also claim some degree of victory in this action, as well.  The FWPD never admitted wrong-doing, Mayor Mike Moncrief, a scion of one of the city’s leading families, never apologized, and political cover remains intact for the way the raid was handled.  But this abrupt decision, to drop all charges against men who were enjoying a summer night on the town in a gay bar, signals that Cowtown has gotten the message from the LGBTQ citizenry of North Texas: they will not tolerate bullying and oppression anymore.  In a Texas-style stare-down, the queer community did not blink–Cowtown did.

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Fort Worth Police Department, gay men, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Latinos, Law and Order, police brutality, Protests and Demonstrations, Rainbow Lounge Raid, Social Justice Advocacy, Stonewall Inn, Texas, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Judge Rules Mistrial in Duanna Johnson Civil Rights Case: One Juror Hangs Federal Jury

Duanna Johnson, slain transwoman

Memphis, TN – A federal judge in Memphis has ruled for a mistrial in the case of former Memphis Police Officer Bridges McRae, on trial for violating Duanna Johnson’s civil rights.  Memphis LGBT advocates are calling the decision “a failure of the justice system,” according to myeyewitnessnews.com.  Johnson, a transgender woman of color, was repeatedly punched and beaten by McRae with handcuffs wrapped around his knuckles and pepper-sprayed as she was being processed for a prostitution charge at a Memphis police station on February 12, 2008.  The beating was captured on a police surveillance tape, and reaction to the video prompted an immediate investigation resulting in the firing of McRae and a second officer, James Swain.  Johnson had filed suit against the city on the basis of the videotape and the testimony of witnesses who declared that the brutal beating was unprovoked.  Nine months later, as the New York Times reports, Duanna Johnson was shot to death with a bullet to the head on the night of November 9, 2008.  Johnson’s murder, which remains unsolved, prompted intense scrutiny on the original beating case, and charges were filed in federal court for violation of the transwoman’s civil rights.  Besides the controversial videotape of her beating, five witnesses testified in court that the attack on the 6’5″ 250 lb. Black transwoman was wanton, there being no reason for it in her behavior.  Will Batts of the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Center, who had watched the surveillance tape repeatedly, said to myeyewitnessnews.com, “[The beating] looked to be unprovoked. It looked to be excessive on the part of the police officer. It looked to be just an attack on someone in a police station with other people standing around. And it was just incredibly violent.” McRae’s attorney argued that his client was simply exercising necessary force to subdue Johnson, blaming her for resisting arrest.  Eleven jurors were convinced of McRae’s guilt.  One was not, however, and after the jury deadlocked, the judge declared the mistrial. The Memphis LGBT community refused to take the news lying down.  A rally in protest of the judge’s ruling will take place April 20 in front of the Federal Courthouse.  “Would it have been different if Duanna were not transgendered,” Batts asked in a press interview. “If it were just an average person from the suburbs that happened to be sitting in that jail room on that day and had this kind of response from the police, would the decision be different?”  Both the prosecution and the defense are to meet with the judge to determine a date for a new trial for McRae.

April 20, 2010 Posted by | African Americans, Anglo Americans, Anti-LGBT hate crime, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, police brutality, Protests and Demonstrations, Tennessee, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Judge Rules Mistrial in Duanna Johnson Civil Rights Case: One Juror Hangs Federal Jury

Miami Beach Police Disciplined for False Charges Against Gay Tourist Who Turned Them In For Beating

Flamingo Park Area of Miami Beach

Miami Beach, FL – “What is happening in Miami Beach?” —  Miami Herald reader Jeffrey Garcia questioned Miami Beach Police Chief  Carlos Noriega after reports that two MBPD officers falsely charged a gay tourist.  The officers were apparently unaware that the tourist was speaking on his cellphone to the 911 line to report them for beating a man on the street.  The large majority of the abusive arrest, shouts by the officers of anti-gay epithets, and their physical assault on gay tourist Harold Strickland were all recorded for the world to hear.  Once they realized the tourist was reporting them, they allegedly made up charges against him that have now been dropped. Under pressure from the ACLU of Florida, both MBPD Officers Frankly Forte and Elliot Hazzi have been put on desk duty while the investigation against them proceeds.  The Chief’s assurances of good relations with the Miami Beach LGBT community to the contrary, a flurry of reports are emerging that Miami, Miami Beach, South Beach, and other Dade County locales once considered gay Meccas are no longer safe for queer folk.  The made up charges against Mr. Strickland are the most recent example.  According to Miami Herald reports, Mr. Strickland observed two men beating a person at about 1 a.m. on March 13, 2009 in the Flamingo Park area of Miami Beach.  As Steve Rothaus of the Herald reports, “Strickland called 911 when he saw a man being beaten by two men just outside the park. ‘I saw a guy running and then I saw two, what looked like undercover cops running. And they pushed this guy down on the ground, the one cop did, and the other cop came up as if he was kicking a football … and kicked the guy in the head,” Strickland told a dispatcher during a recorded phone call to 911.”  Rothaus continues his report, “For nearly five minutes, he talked to the dispatcher, who encouraged him to get closer for more detail ‘if it doesn’t put you in any danger.’ A few seconds later, Strickland told the dispatcher: “Now they’re coming after me!””  The officers, Forte and Hazzi, demanded to know what Mr. Strickland was doing.  According to a spokesperson for the ACLU,they then grabbed his cellphone away from him and said, “We know what you’re doing here. We’re sick of all the f—ing fags in the neighborhood.”  Pushing him to the ground, they bound Mr. Strickland’s hands and proceeded to kick and beat him, hurling anti-gay slurs at him.  The ACLU report continues, “While Strickland was on the ground, the officers continued to spew anti-gay epithets. They called him a ‘f—ing fag’ and told him he was going to ‘get it good in jail.”’  Though Mr. Strickland tried to tell the officers about his call to 911, they would not listen.  They arrested him on prowling-and-loitering charges.  A half hour later, Officer Forte in his arrest report charged Mr. Strickland with breaking into six cars in the area.  In a hearing the next morning, a judge advised Mr. Strickland that he would get out of jail quicker if he would plead guilty to misdemeanor charges.  He did, but as soon as he was free, he called the ACLU, and changed his plea to not guilty.  The State Attorney General’s Office has dropped all charges against Mr. Strickland, as well as loitering and resisting arrest charges against Mr. Oscar Mendoza, the man Mr. Strickland saw Officers Forte and Hazzi beat near Flamingo Park.  The ACLU has informed the mayor of Miami Beach that they will sue both the offending officers and the city for the incident.  Robert F. Rosenwald Jr., director of the ACLU Florida’s Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender Advocacy Project, told the Herald’s Steve Rothaus, “This is an issue that we have hoped to address for a long time. Miami Beach Police have for a long time harassed gay men around Flamingo Park without probable cause.”

February 16, 2010 Posted by | ACLU, Anglo Americans, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Florida, gay men, harassment, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, police brutality, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Stomping and Kicking Violence | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Miami Beach Police Disciplined for False Charges Against Gay Tourist Who Turned Them In For Beating

Sending the Devil to Hell for a Trial?: DFW Leaders Demand Independent Investigation in Rainbow Lounge Raid

raid-on-eve-of-stonewall-001Fort Worth, TX – In the wee hours of Sunday, June 28, 40 years to the day after the Stonewall Inn Raid in Greenwich Village that sparked the Stonewall Rebellion against anti-LGBT oppression, officers of the Fort Worth Police and the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission raided the Rainbow Lounge.  Unlike other so-called “checks” of liquor licenses, the police came hot to trot with a paddy wagon, plastic zip cuffs, and bad attitudes, according to many eye-witnesses and targets in the bar.  Word spread fast.  Now the Rainbow Lounge Raid is making national and international news, and the police are changing their tunes about what they did on that fateful night when LGBT Pride was challenged by force once again.  Originally, FWPD Chief of Police Halstead claimed that officers had been “groped” by at least one patron of the bar, and that the severe cranial injury sustained by Chad Gibson, 26, who was arrested for “public intoxication” was due to “alcohol poisoning.”  This is not the first time some version of the tired “gay panic defense” has been marshaled to justify overkill in the treatment of LGBT people.  Ironically, hate crimes perpetrators are generally the ones who use the “blame the victim” technique to blur the oppression of LGBT people.  That peace officers used it in Fort Worth is nearly as noteworthy as their choice of the Stonewall Anniversary to carry out their assault.  Now Chief Halstead is changing stories, saying that Gibson, who is still critical in John Peter Smith Hospital in ICU, was injured “while in custody of the TABC.”

Local business, civic, and activist leaders are calling for an independent investigation of the actions of the FWPD and the TABC during the Raid.  Fearing loss of face for Cowtown, as well as loss of business, leaders are demanding more than an internal investigation that may be self-serving at best.  Meanwhile, Gibson struggles to heal.  No costs of his hospitalization or damages will be forthcoming from the officers who slammed his head into a bathroom step at the Rainbow Lounge, for they are indemnified against facing responsibility for what they did by the state and the city.  Too bad.  As long as harsh treatment can be whitewashed clean by internal investigations and bureaucratic red tape, LGBT people cannot feel safe anywhere in the Metroplex.  The Rainbow Lounge Raid proves that much, at least.  The public has yet to hear a full-throated demand for justice from the Fort Worth LGBT community.  While some are courageously speaking out, the so-called “Fort Worth way” is in full display, with queer folk in Cowtown still keeping their heads low for the most part.  Chad GibsonAs the days drag on from the time of the Raid, and as Gibson fights to get better from bleeding on the brain in ICU, the Fort Worth LGBT community may yet find its voice.  One of the most telling witness statements from a patron of the Rainbow Lounge on the night of the raid was that the assault by police “was just like Stonewall without fighting back.”  The spirit of Stonewall is resistance, plain an simple.  Non-resistance is not and never has been the Stonewall way, and Fort Worth LGBT people and their allies have to find more spine if they are to have freedom and equality in deep, dark red Tarrant County, stronghold of right wing Republicanism in North Texas.

This story has all the makings of a regional earthquake in human rights: Excessive police force, severely injured LGBT people, gay panic defense, police cover-up attempts, heterosexist attitudes, terror in the queer community, and finally, the will to resist on the part of gay men and lesbians who have had enough jawboning and harm from their elected leaders and law enforcement agencies.  Passively allowing the law enforcement agencies and city officials responsible for this outrage to mollify the public with “internal investigations” is like sending the Devil to Hell for a trial.  No jury in perdition would ever find him guilty.  Without consistent pressure coupled with open communications, things will pretty much go back to homophobic normal in Cowtown.  Instead of an earthquake, all Fort Worth may experience from this unwarranted use of brute force will be a shrug.  The coming days will see if the North Texas children of Stonewall will rise up and seize the moment, or not.

Steve Profile Vineyard Websize ~ Stephen V. Sprinkle, Director of the Unfinished Lives Project

July 1, 2009 Posted by | Anglo Americans, Beatings and battery, Blame the victim, Domestic Violence, gay men, gay panic defense, harassment, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, Lesbian women, police brutality, Politics, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Sending the Devil to Hell for a Trial?: DFW Leaders Demand Independent Investigation in Rainbow Lounge Raid

Memphis Nocturne

Like Dallas, Memphis, Tennessee, cannot shake the reputation for violence. The assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in April 1968 will always haunt the city that bills itself “The Home of the Blues/The Birthplace of Rock n’ Roll.”

The Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee

Four savage attacks against transgender women of color in Memphis reinforce the reputation Memphians would rather forget, and focus the attention of the nation on the terrible price transgender Americans pay for being true to themselves. Tiffany Berry, 21-years-old, was shot three times in the chest by a man who “did not like the way she had touched him.” Berry’s February 16, 2006, murder was a grim prelude to the murders of 20-year-old Ebony Whitaker on July 1, 2008, and 43-year-old Duanna Johnson on November 9, 2008. Johnson made national headlines when her beating by two Memphis Police Officers was captured on a jailhouse video camera earlier in the year. At the time of her murder, Johnson was pursuing a $1.3 million lawsuit against the Memphis Police Department. All three hate crime murder victims were African American transwomen. On Christmas Eve 2008, yet another African American transwoman, Leeneshia Edwards, was shot in the jaw, side and back in a near-fatal attack.

Tiffany Berry

Ebony Whitaker

Duanna Johnson

Anti-transgender violence is on the rise throughout the United States. Attacks like these could happen in any city in the country. Ironically, Memphis is served by a liberal Jewish congressman with a 100% rating by the Human Rights Campaign, and the police department is submitting to sensitivity training by LGBT experts. Yet Memphis bears a special responsibility for extending and protecting civil rights.

In March 1968, Memphis garbage workers began carrying placards bearing “I AM A MAN” to underscore their humanity in the struggle for dignity and living wages. After Dr. King’s assassination, that slogan became famous throughout the world, signifying the determination of black people to win their freedom. Four decades later, with the election of America’s first black president, a newer version of that slogan needs to be invented to highlight the struggle of transgender people of color who face violence and indignities of every kind: “I AM A HUMAN BEING.”


Dr. King wrote in his famous Letter From A Birmingham Jail, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.” Gay, Bi, Lesbian, Trans or Straight, the freedom and security of all of us depends on the freedom and security of any of us. That makes all of us, on the eve of a new presidency offering hope, inextricably involved with what is happening to our trans sisters in the streets of Memphis.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Alabama’s Birmingham Jail

January 20, 2009 Posted by | African Americans, gun violence, police brutality, Protests and Demonstrations, Racism, Tennessee, transgender persons, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

NCAVP warns of national increase in anti-transgender violence

One day before the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a new NCAVP press release warns about a nationwide increase in severe violence perpetrated against transgender persons.

~ ~ ~

New York – As the Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches, a day when victims of anti-transgender bias are mourned around the globe, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has documented increases in severe violence directed at transgender communities across the country, especially against transgender women of color.

  • Latiesha Green, 22, was shot on November 14 in Syracuse, New York.
  • Duanna Johnson, 43, was shot in Memphis, Tennessee, on November 8.
  • Aimee Wilcoxson, 34, was found dead in her apartment on November 3 in Aurora, Colorado, just outside of Denver.

Some of these brutal acts of violence occurred in the same communities that continue to mourn the murders of two transgender people of color earlier this year: Ebony Whitaker, 20, murdered in June also in Tennessee and Angie Zapata, 18, murdered in July also in Colorado.

Organizations such as International Transgender Day of Remembrance and Remembering Our Dead that have helped to initiate Transgender Day of Remembrance (held this year on November 20) also track anti-trans murders. They documented 29 anti-trans murders in 2008, a 65% increase over 2007.

NCAVP wishes to express our sadness and outrage about this ongoing, horrific violence. We stand in solidarity with transgender communities in Tennessee, Syracuse, and Colorado, the victims and survivors, and their loved ones.

Mixed Criminal / Legal System Responses

Ms. Johnson’s murder comes on the heels of Memphis Police Department’s brutal beating of Ms. Johnson in February 2008. The following Police security camera footage of the beating has been widely circulated since June (warning: clip contains disturbing material):


The Memphis Police Department had been attempting to settle a law suit that Ms. Johnson had filed for the beating she endured while in custody. Former officers Bridges McRae and James Swain were fired only after the video was released, but it is not yet clear whether or not any criminal charges will be filed.

Local community members have speculated that anti-trans bias is likely a factor, not only in the beating itself but in the lack of criminal charges being filed. “This is not the first time the Shelby County District Attorney’s office has shown indifference to brutality against transgender people,” observed Dr. Marisa Richmond, the President of Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. “When Tiffany Berry was murdered in 2006, her alleged perpetrator, D’Andre Blake, was released on only $20,000 bond.” Dr. Richmond noted that people charged with murder in Tennessee typically get a $100,000 bond.

The FBI is now assisting in the investigation of Ms. Johnson’s murder. NCAVP calls upon the FBI to bring its full resources to in the investigation of not only Ms. Johnson’s murder but also Ms. Ebony Whitaker’s. NCAVP also demands that District Attorney Gibbons bring appropriate charges against former officers McRae and Swain.

In Colorado, the Aurora Sentinel reported that local police have speculated that Ms. Wilcoxson’s death was a suicide. But friends of hers insist that explanation is very unlikely given her life circumstances and also given the condition the body was in when it was discovered. NCAVP is hopeful that local police will conduct a thorough investigation that takes into account these statements from people who knew her.

In Syracuse, Sage Upstate and other local community members report that Syracuse City Police Department Chief Gary Miguel has responded to this crime with sensitivity. The family of Latiesha ‘Tiesh’ Green and LGBT advocates in the Syracuse community are hopeful that the Onondaga County District Attorney’s office will be able to include hate crime charges in the prosecution of this case.

NCAVP commends district attorneys and police who identify and appropriately categorize hate-motivated violence. We are hopeful that district attorneys and law enforcement in other jurisdictions will follow suit and NCAVP will continue to monitor the violence against transgender communities, as well as the police response.

Transgender and gender non-conforming people experience violence and harassment everyday and most of it never makes headlines. NCAVP encourages LGBT people experiencing any form of hate violence, harassment, vandalism, or bullying to contact NCAVP or one of our member programs by calling 212.714.1184 or emailing us at info@ncavp.org.

November 20, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Beatings and battery, Colorado, gun violence, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Law and Order, New York, police brutality, Tennessee, transgender persons, Uncategorized | Comments Off on NCAVP warns of national increase in anti-transgender violence

Pattern of severe of anti-LGBT violence increases nationwide

stop hate hand

The Hate Crimes Bill has provided an excellent summary of a new report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs showing anti-LGBT violence has been on the rise since the murder of Lawrence “Larry” King in Oxnard, California, at the beginning of this year.

“The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reports a recent rash of at least 13 brutal and violent hate crimes that have occurred throughout the country on the heels of the murder of 15 year-old Lawrence King in Los Angeles and the brutal beating of Duanna Johnson, both in February of 2008,” says the Hate Crimes Bill’s website. “NCAVP reports that these hate crimes may indicate a frightening trend of increases in both the number and severity of anti-LGBT violence.”

The NCAVP findings come after several anti-LGBT hate crimes, including the police beating of a transgender woman in Memphis, Tennessee; the harassment and beating of a gay man on a New York subway; the murder of a transgender woman in Memphis, Tennessee; the alleged police beating of a gay man in Greeley, Colorado; the beating of a priest in Queens, New York, for protecting a group of LGBT youth living at a shelter for homeless youth; the midnight home-invasion and arson, in Central New York, by a self-proclaimed Neo-Nazi, who targeted a sleeping 65-year-old gay man (the victim was able to flee the home, unhurt); the fatal bludgeoning of 18-year-old Angie Zapata, a transgender Latina woman in Greeley, Colorado; the beating of gay man Jimmy Lee Dean, in Dallas, Texas, whose injuries were so severe that he was in intensive care and could not be interviewed or identified until five days after the crime; the severe injury of a man in upstate New York, whose two assailants beat, kicked, and shouted anti-gay slurs until they had broken ten bones in their victim’s face; the attack against an 18-year-old living in St Helens, in the United Kingdom, who died a week later from his injuries; the (at least partially) anti-gay-motivated shooting rampage in a Knoxville, Tennessee, church that claimed two lives and wounded seven others; the mob-beating and stabbing of a man perceived to be gay in Staten Island, New York; the ongoing and escalating harassment (for nearly 8 years) of a gay male couple living in Cleveland, Ohio, by anti-gay neighbors; and the ongoing and escalating harassment (for nearly 20 years) of a gay male couple living in a rural Pennsylvania town, who have suffered incidents of gunfire, vandalism, stalking, acts of intimidation, and the indifference from local police.

In a grim coincidence, more than one anti-LGBT hate crime has occurred in both Memphis, Tennessee, and Greeley, Colorado, since the beginning of 2008.

Unfinished Lives also offers our own analysis of the significance of anti-LGBT hate-crime statistics in the United States. The NCAVP’s findings and the Hate Crimes Bill’s detailed summary confirm what has been a growing concern for LGBT persons living in the United States.

August 19, 2008 Posted by | Arson, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Colorado, gun violence, harassment, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, home-invasion, mob-violence and lynching, multiple homicide, Neo-Nazis and White Supremacy, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, police brutality, religious intolerance, stabbings, stalking, Stomping and Kicking Violence, Tennessee, Texas, vandalism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pattern of severe of anti-LGBT violence increases nationwide

As Ebony Whitaker laid to rest, hate crime concerns continue in Memphis

According to a July 8 Out & About Newspaper article, the murder of transgender woman Ebony (Rodney) Whitaker has raised concerns about anti-gay violence in Memphis, Tennessee.  As Whitaker’s body was laid to rest on Monday, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) called upon the Memphis Police Department to be more responsive when it comes to crimes committed against the transgender community.

Whitaker’s murder is considered the latest in a string of violent crimes against transgendered persons in Memphis.  TTPC president Marisa Richmond said that the unsolved murder of Tiffany Berry and the police beating of Duanna Johnson point to an unacceptable trend of violence.  “The lack of response by the Memphis Police Department,” says Richmond, “has set a tone in the community that the lives of transgender people, especially African-American, are irrelevant.”


Watch the video of Duanna Johnson’s beating by Memphis Police in February.


For more information about Ebony (Rodney) Whitaker, read a related article at the Memphis Eyewitness News website.

July 11, 2008 Posted by | African Americans, Hate Crimes, police brutality, Tennessee, transgender persons | , , , , | 1 Comment


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