Thursday, February 06, 2014

Islan Nettles Rally And The Lingering Questions After It

Islan Nettles rallySomething else that was happening while I was busy hosting 4000 of our TBLG family and allies in H-town last week was a January 30 New York rally demanding action on the Islan Nettles case.

When we last checked in on the case the Manhattan DA dropped misdemeanor assault charges against Paris Wilson, the person who was pulled off of Nettles by the police. because the speedy trial prosecution clock had run out and to ostensibly pursue more serious charges in this case. 

Well, the New York trans community isn't staying silent about this, they want justice for Islan like all of us do.  There was a December 20 meeting of New York City trans leaders headed by Laverne Cox and Brooke Cerda Guzman and various organizations facilitated by the New York Anti-Violence Project with the Manhattan DA.. 

Over 100 people including Janet Mock showed up for a January 30 rally at One Police Plaza organized by the Trans Women of Color Collective of New York (TWOCC) to keep the public pressure on NYPD and the Manhattan DA's office, keep the case in the public eye, and prod them into speedier action to solve the Nettles case. 

“Having survived a violent assault, I know what a struggle it can be to get justice in NY. Not one of my attackers was charged - and I was almost treated by the police as though I deserved to be assaulted,” says Madison St. Claire, Co-Chair of Membership for TWOCC. “Now, the same thing is happening in the Islan Nettles case - and that sends the wrong message: that trans women of color are disposable - that our lives don’t matter.” says St Claire. “Today, we send our own message NYPD and the DA’s office: TRANS LIVES MATTER!”

TWOCC activists have pointed out some troubling issues and things that make you go hmm concerns surrounding the Nettles case.  TWOCC has accused the NYPD and the Manhattan District Attorney's office of negligence and mishandling of this investigation that is leading to fear in the NY transfeminine community that a perpetrator of violence against us will get away with it.

It was revealed by TWOCC that
no DNA evidence was collected from Paris Wilson at the scene of the crime, nor were witnesses rigorously questioned. Nor has it been satisfactorily explained why Simone Wilson, the suspect’s mother, was never held accountable or charged for hindering prosecution or falsifying evidence when she persuaded a friend of her son to make a false confession which was later recanted.

And perhaps in a statement that strains credibility, the DA’s office is claiming that all 10 surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the beating that lead to Islan Nettles’ death on that August 17 night were broken.
There have also been questions raised by transpeople in the NY area and nationally about what exactly is the Rev Al Sharpton's and the National Action Network's stance concerning the Nettles case and trans human rights in general.  

held a December 7 panel discussion moderated by Dominique Sharpton entitled 'My Brothers Keeper' at NAN's Harlem headquarters that included trans panelists Sean Coleman, Arisce Wanzer and Kimberly Howard.  But the forum has not quieted the trans community asking this legitimate question in light of the fact the vicious attack on Islan occurred mere blocks from NAN's Harlem headquarters.

So will keep you TransGriot readers posted on the latest developments in the Nettles case as I receive them.

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