Monday, June 23, 2008
Nation's African-American Civil Rights Groups Denounce Beating of Transgender Woman
TransGriot Note: Thanks NBJC! ;)
WASHINGTON, DC --The nation's most influential African-American civil rights organizations have joined together to denounce the beating of a transgender women by Memphis, TN police and has also called for an investigation and prosecution of the officers involved.
The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), America's only nationwide Black civil rights organization focused upon lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues is joined by the Black Leadership Forum (BLF), an alliance of over thirty national African-American civil rights and social service organizations in denouncing the incident.
In an historic move, NBJC reached out to BLF member organizations which include the NAACP, Congressional Black Caucus, National Urban League, National Council of Negro Women, 100 Black Men, Inc., and several others to join forces to stand for equality and against discrimination and hatred toward ALL African-Americans.
A newly released tape shows that on February 12, 2008 at least two police officers were involved in the horrific act of physically assaulting Duanna Johnson while she was being held in the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center. Johnson, a transgender woman had been arrested on a charge of prostitution.
"What we saw on the video was disturbing. When those who have been sworn to protect us abuse their scared duty our justice system must respond," said NBJC CEO H. Alexander Robinson. "It appears that not only did an officer use unnecessary force to brutalize Ms. Johnson he did so as other officers looked on. "While being called names such as "faggot" and "he-she", surveillance video show an officer walk over and hit Johnson in the face several times while having handcuffs wrapped around his knuckles and another officer holding her down as she tried to protect herself from the punches.
Video of the attack can be seen at: http://www.wmctv.com/global/story.asp?s=8515744
We are deeply troubled by the continuing pattern of incidents across the country –hate crimes, police misconduct, and racial intimidation – that are all-too-often tolerated and ignored by local law enforcement officials and courts. Moreover, despite significant progress in the treatment of LGBT people, the targeting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals for police abuse and misconduct remains a persistent and widespread problem in the US. People of color communities comprise of at least 36% of victims and survivors of anti-LGBT related crimes in America, according to the National Coalition of anti-violence programs.
When faced with the abuse of individual civil rights we look to our local police departments not only to guarantee that those engaging in such actions are held accountable for their behavior, but to send a distinct message from the highest levels of government that such conduct has no place in our American society. Swift and firm action will demonstrate that our hard-fought federal civil rights laws are not mere empty promises, but will be strictly enforced to guarantee all Americans the full and equal protection of our nation's laws.
The National Black Justice Coalition - America 's only nationwide Black civil rights organization focused upon lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.
The Black Leadership Forum - An alliance of over thirty national African-American civil rights and social service organizations in denouncing the incident