Black Trans Lives Matter: Tony McDade killed by police in Florida

A black transgender man was shot and killed by police in Florida last week. His name was Tony McDade.

As the USA and the world mourn the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, who also lost his life under the custody of law enforcement officers, McDade joins the staggering list of black lives taken by US police officers.

McDade took to Facebook Live the night before his death, claiming he had been attacked by five people and showing his wounds, vowing to take revenge on his attackers. Tallahassee Police claim McDade was in possession of a handgun, and that they found a bloody knife at the crime scene. Social media footage and witnesses of the incident dispute that McDade was armed on the scene.

Initial reports from the Tallahassee Police Department also misgendered McDade, and were promptly corrected by news organisation WFSU Public Media. McDade is the twelfth known trans or gender diverse person to be killed in the USA this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

“The Human Rights Campaign and the entire transgender and non-binary community demand accountability and answers for Tony’s death – and countless violent deaths of trans people, Black people, and disproportionately, Black transgender people,” Tori Cooper of HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative told Rolling Stone.

“While these deaths are visible due to recordings and social media, we know far too many go completely ignored.”

“Black people, LGBTQ people, and especially all LGBTQ people of colour are at greater risk for violence every day in this country. This must end. Our hearts are heavy as we mourn with Tony’s family and friends.”

The Tallahassee Community Action Network has also launched a campaign drawing attention to McDade’s death, highlighting that he was the third black person killed by Tallahassee Police over a three month period.

“On May 27th, 2020, Tony McDade, a black transgender masculine person was shot five times in the back and killed by a Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) officer. TPD, notorious for its racism, white supremacy, and transphobia has consistently misgendered Tony and refused to release the officer’s body camera footage and/or admit their wrongdoing in murdering and misgendering an unarmed black trans person,’ the campaign website reads.

“Many details surrounding this incident are unclear, but eyewitness accounts and video footage contradict the official TPD report which states that Mr. McDade was armed. In fact, video footage of the shooting shows that Tony was shot 5-8 times in the back and that the officer was standing over Tony when the last shot was fired.”

“This is the THIRD murder of a black person by Tallahassee police in three months (March – May) under the direction of the newly installed racist killer cop Chief of Police, Lawrence Revell, who gunned down an unarmed black teenager 20 years ago and was promoted as a consequence of this, and his involvement in the white supremacist police team “the Alpha Squad” that used police intimidation and harassment to terrorize black youth in Tallahassee.”

Tallahassee Community Action Network are urging citizens to write to city officials and call for the removal of the accused officer, and for a full and thorough investigation of all officers involved.

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