Assaulted Transgender Woman Muhlaysia Booker Found Dead in Dallas
Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman who was assaulted in a video that went viral in April, was found dead on a Dallas street this weekend, The New York Times reports.
The Dallas Police Department said Booker, who was 23, was shot and killed. Authorities said they did not have any evidence linking the killing to the attack Booker suffered last month.
Major Vincent Weddington told reporters Sunday that Booker’s body was found Saturday morning “lying facedown in the street, deceased from homicidal violence.” She reportedly had no identification on her at the time, so medical examiners weren’t able to positively identify her until the following day.
Per CNN, Weddington added that Edward Thomas, who was arrested for assaulting Booker last month, was no longer in police custody. Thomas still faces charges over the assault, though Weddington said, “There is nothing at this time to connect Mr. Edward Thomas and the offense that occurred yesterday.”
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On April 12th, Booker was assaulted by several men in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment complex shortly after being involved in a car accident. Video of the incident surfaced online, and in it a man identified as Thomas can be seen repeatedly punching Booker while other men kick her and shout anti-gay slurs. Prior to the assault, a voice could be heard offering Thomas $200 to beat up Booker. Eventually, a group of women helped Booker flee. She was hospitalized with a concussion and a fractured wrist.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, violence against transgender people has been steadily rising. In 2017, there were at least 29 deaths linked to fatal violence, while last year that number was at least 26. However, many advocates note that those numbers could actually be much higher: There’s no central database for police have to report crimes against transgender people, and many police end up misgendering victims, which can cause confusions and delays for activists trying to keep track.
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