NYC transgender community demands ‘Justice for Islan Nettles!’

WW photo: Greg Butterfield

WW photo: Greg Butterfield

New York — Despite bitterly cold temperatures, more than 100 people — chanting “Not one more!” — protested Jan. 30 outside New York Police Department headquarters in lower Manhattan to demand justice for Islan Nettles. Nettles, an African-American transgender woman, was brutally beaten in Harlem on Aug. 17. She died from her injuries five days later.

Eyewitnesses reported that a man named Paris Wilson attacked Nettles, shouted anti-trans and anti-gay slurs, and beat her while she lay helpless on the ground.

Wilson was charged only with misdemeanor assault. The charges were later dropped.

Trans community activists say the NYPD failed to question witnesses, gather evidence or even check on Nettles’ condition in the five days following the attack.

Community members say this is typical of how police in New York and around the country look the other way in cases involving anti-trans violence, especially against transgender people of color.

The protesters are demanding answers from District Attorney Cyrus Vance and Police Commissioner William Bratton, including a full report to the community on the status of the investigation and an audit of all NYPD precincts for their conduct in investigating crimes against trans people.

Activists promised to continue mobilizing to win these demands.

The action was organized by the Transgender/Cisgender Coalition; ACT UP NY; Luz’s Daughter Cares; TWOCC: Trans Women of Color Collective of Greater NY; STARR: Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform; LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent; and others.