A 23-year-old transgender woman seen on a widely circulated video being beaten in front of a crowd of people has been found dead in Dallas, Texas.
Police say the body of Muhlaysia Booker, who was shot dead, was found in a street on Saturday and that no suspect has been identified. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators say there’s no apparent link to the April 12 beating Booker suffered after she was involved in a minor traffic accident.
A mobile phone recording during the April incident showed her being beaten by a man as a crowd watched and authorities say the man was offered $200 to attack Booker. Video of the incident was shared on social media.
A 29-year-old man was arrested and jailed on suspicion of aggravated assault. Local media reported the man was released on bond earlier this month.
Four black transgender women killed in 2019
According to local media, Assistant Chief Avery Moore said authorities did not have enough information to assess whether this weekend’s shooting was motived by hate.
“We recognise that hate crimes, if you will, are a serious topic,” Moore was quoted by Dallas Morning News as saying. “We at the Dallas Police Department take them serious.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, Booker told supporters at a rally after the April incident, “This time, I can stand before you, where, in other scenarios, we’re at a memorial.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Booker is the fourth black transgender woman to be killed in the United States since the beginning of 2019. The others include, Dana Martin, who was shot dead in Alabama in January, Ashanti Carmon, who was fatally shot in Maryland in March and Claire Legato, who was shot in Ohio last month and died from her injuries last week.
At least 26 transgender individuals – the majority of whom were black transgender women – were killed in the US last year, the Human Rights Campaign said.
The rights group also noted that “some of these cases (involved) clear anti-transgender bias” while others, “the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into unemployment, poverty, homelessness and/or survival sex work”.