Alex Blaze

Pre-trial begins in Duanna Johnson beating

Filed By Alex Blaze | January 12, 2010 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Duanna Johnson, hate crimes against LGBT people, Memphis, police brutality, police violence, prostitution, transgender

Local TV is covering the the cop's trial, but I do wonder if they got two independent sources to verify their accusation that Duanna Johnson, who's dead and therefore cannot defend herself, was a prostitute. Sure, she was arrested on prostitution charges, but the cops who arrested her also called her a "he/she" and "faggot" before beating her, and one's on trial right now. Not the most reliable source, especially considering the charge of prostitution against Johnson was dropped.

Video after the jump.


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Interesting why the video shown never includes the beginning of the incident where Johnson is claimed to have "provoked" the two officers... they obviously have the footage, why was it never released? It's supposed to 'exonerate' Memphis police officers McRae & Swain, I can't imagine the department wouldn't release it? Instead, Memphis was pretty much murder central for transwomen during 2008. Poor Duanna paid for this video with her life.

The business of making all African-American and Latina transwomen into sexworkers is one of the most insidious ways the police and media try to make transwomen of color into "a disposable population". It's much the same thing governments do before they perform some form of ethnic cleansing... isolate, demonize, and pretend the extermination is being done out of a need for civic 'defense'.

Sadly, I hear a lot of white people in the trans (much less LGB) community spread this same racist fiction when discussing the issue of the high murder rate of transwomen of color. They presuppose the victims all died because they were involved in the dangerous world of sexwork when, if you look at many of the murdered transwomen from the past several years, a large number of them were not involved in sexwork or, if they had that in their lives, weren't murdered as a direct result of it. It's a way of creating an US vs. THEM scenario and trying to distance themselves from the most marginalized/vulnerable parts of the LGBT community. Shame on them for doing so.

One trans-person murdered is too many.
Whether a prostitute or not- there's never a reason to kill an innocent person.

battybattybats battybattybats | January 13, 2010 9:22 AM

Sex workers are people too.

One of the best things my state (New South Wales in Australia) ever did was to begin to support sex workers through accredited legal brothels and working with sex worker organisations to bring in health checks and condom use which dramaticly reduced HIV infection, improved the safety of sex workers and reduced exploitation. It's still an area with many problems but the average sex worker here is university educated or studying at university and has the same job satisfaction as office workers.

One of the reasons Australia has one of the lowest HIV rates in the world.

I hope they nail this son-of-a-bitch to the walls. And the nurse that ignores her should get her own special place in hell too.

battybattybats battybattybats | January 13, 2010 10:44 AM

Did they catch her murderer?

If not why is it certain the shooting was unrelated?

And even if she started the fight the blows she received were hardly an appropriate measure to restrain her. IIRC handcuffs were used as knuckle dusters.

Her case continues to be unsolved. She was murdered execution style. Media continues to soft-pedal any connections between her beating (and false arrest), the two officers who are charged in beating her, a lawsuit Ms. Johnson was in the process of filing against the city of Memphis and, ultimately her murder.

What's more disturbing is how the media has avoided this story like the plague, really until this current trial. What's needed is a full federal investigation/audit of the Memphis police department