New York City Rally Calls for Justice for Islan Nettles

Mourners want answers.

By Jamilah King Jan 30, 2014

It’s been six months since Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old transgender woman, was beaten to death in Harlem and still no one has been charged with her murder.

The lack of progress in the case has outraged many, including Nettles’ family and other LGBT communities across the country, leading them to hold a rally in Manhattan on Thursday to call for accountability in the case.  The rally will be held Thursday at 4pm at One Police Plaza in New York City. 

The Trans Women of Color Collective of Greater New York issued the follwing press release:

"We will not be silent, we will not stand by while trans youth are murdered without recourse." says Lourdes Ashley Hunter, Community Organizer & Co-Founder of Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) of Greater New York. "The NYPD and the District Attorney’s office must be held accountable for their biased and botched investigation of Islan Nettles’ murder."

Activists have raised many troubling questions about the District Attorney & NYPD’s negligence and mishandling of the case: It was revealed that no DNA evidence was collected from Paris Wilson at the scene of the crime, nor were witnesses rigorously questioned. Nor has it been explained why Simone Wilson, the suspect’s mother, was never held accountable for falsifying evidence when she persuaded a friend of her son to make a false confession which was later recanted. And perhaps most inexplicably, the D.A.’s office is claiming that all 10 surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the beating that lead to Islan Nettles’ death were broken.

"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 Madison. "Today, we send our own message NYPD & the DA’s office: TRANS LIVES MATTER!

As the press release notes, there were ten surveillance cameras in the vicinity of Nettles’ August beating, but officers have reportedly said that none were working. Stay tuned.