U.S. police downplay fears over three trans women murders in Dallas

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 5 June 2019 17:24 GMT

Transgender rights activists protest the recent killings of three transgender women, Muhlaysia Booker, Claire Legato, and Michelle Washington, during a rally at Washington Square Park in New York, U.S., May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Demetrius Freeman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

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At least 26 transgender women were reported killed in the United States in 2018 and 29 in 2017

NEW YORK, June 5 (Openly) - U.S. police investigating the third murder of a transgender woman in Dallas, Texas, in under a year have played down fears that there was a serial killer at large targeting one of city's most marginalized groups.

Chynal Lindsey's body was pulled from White Rock Lake in Dallas on June 1 with "obvious signs of homicidal violence", Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall told a press conference posted on the police website, adding the FBI had been called in to help.

Lindsey's murder came two weeks after another black trans woman, Muhlaysia Booker, was shot to death in Valley Glen Drive, south of White Rock Lake. A third trans woman was fatally shot in the southeast of the city in October last year.

Hall downplayed fears raised by the LGBT+ community that a serial killer was targeting trans women, with a Dallas police spokesman telling the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Wednesday they had no further update to add so far on the murders.

"Right now we don't have the evidence to substantiate that but what we are asking each and everyone of our community members is to stay vigilant, make sure you are aware of your surroundings," Hall told reporters.

"We have a great working relationship with our transgender, our LGBTQ+ community and we are working together to ensure individuals feel safe and they have someone to reach out to if they have some concerns."

The murders have been cited by U.S.-based LGBT+ campaigners as proof that trans people, particularly black trans women, were at huge risk of violence.

At least 26 transgender women were reported killed in the United States in 2018 and 29 in 2017, according to Human Rights Campaign, the largest U.S. LGBT+ advocacy group.

Hall said the police were working with Abounding Prosperity Inc., a Dallas LGBT+ group, "to make sure that you can feel safe".

"(We want) to ensure our community is safe and those responsible for these crimes are brought to justice," Ahmad Goree, a spokesman for Abounding Prosperity, said by email.

Gillian Branstetter, spokeswoman for the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) said it was a "tragedy and a disaster for that community".

"Deaths like these are often the worst manifestations of a number of inequities that trans people, and black trans women in particular, face," Branstetter said. (Writing by Rachel Savage @rachelmsavage; Editing by Belinda Goldsmith Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Openly is an initiative of the Thomson Reuters Foundation dedicated to impartial coverage of LGBT+ issues from around the world.

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