who gets caught for transmisogynist hate crimes?
April 5, 2015
a few days ago on twitter, i pointed out that i’d noticed an interesting (but not surprising) pattern in the arrests made for murders of/violence against twoc (primarily Black women, since i’m talking about the US here). so the thing i noticed was that the only people i really ever saw getting charged, arrested, and convicted for murdering or attacking Black and/or Latina trans women were Black men.
To make how I can notice just a pattern clear: I curate news for @girlslikeusnews on twitter. I’ve been on hiatus to recharge my batteries and I’m just now trying to catch up on a month’s worth of news. But this means that I read and scan A LOT of articles. My google alert query is pretty fucking broad. And I’ve been doing this for a few years now.
A few… other observations. First. Very few arrests/convictions are ever made in these cases, most go unresolved. Second. Black men are arrested/convicted/incarcerated at highly disproportional rates in the US.
One of the things I wanted to know is why the police only seem to be able to find Black men in cases involving Black trans women. Is it because ‘Black on Black’ crime is that bad? Is it because the Black community is uniquely transmisogynist? Is it because people of other races don’t kill or attack Black trans women?
The answer, of course, to all of these questions is a loud and resounding “NO”.
What I think it is, and this should be fairly obvious, is that the police’s apathy towards the deaths and violence experienced by Black trans women doesn’t get in the way of their need to incarcerate as many Black ppl as possible. The police may not care about Black trans women, but they always care about incarcerating Black ppl. Always.
Where becomes a really big problem is in the case of Islan Nettles. Only last month was an arrest made in her murder. The police arrested one Black man when it was said that there were maybe seven people involved. But they also arrested him two years after her death. Which leads us to this article where he defends his innocence:
Police initially arrested another man, Paris Wilson, in connection with the killing, but on Aug. 20 2013 — the same day Nettles died — Dixon went to the 32nd precinct stationhouse and told investigators he attacked her, according to officials. Dixon declined to elaborate on what he said to police….
The reason for the delay in charging him for Nettles’ death was not clear, but investigators say they struggled because witnesses had difficulty telling Dixon and Wilson apart.
Okay… are you seeing what the problem is here? Like. Yeah. I want justice for Islan Nettles, but this? Does not look like it. My confidence that the ‘right’ man was arrested is about -1. The thing is, is that Black men are convicted of crimes on evidence this flimsy and investigations handled this poorly.
Leaving aside the transmisogyny he expressed in this story (“I can tell the difference between a man and a woman,” he said.), I’m just… yeah. Not convinced that the NYPD actually gives two shits about Islan and that their ‘investigation’ was anything more than perfunctory.
What I found interesting about this is that one day after expressing this, I read about another Black man being arrested for the murder of a Black trans woman – Gizzy Fowler. And so the pattern continues…
I have nothing really substantive to say about any of this, other than pointing out the pattern. The only real ‘solution’ to this is prison abolition. Especially when you consider what I realized the other day: the men who are convicted of transmisogynist hate crimes go to the same prisons as twoc. Think about that. This was confirmed by something Dixon said himself:
“There are transgender people here in jail and I get along fine with them.”
This is…. yeah. I guess I do have one last question for the trans*nationalists and homonationalists who’ve been pushing hate crime designations as a ‘solution’ for violence in teh community: does this look like justice to you?