Norton gets assurances of hate crime treatment of murdered transgendered teens
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Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, Metropolitan Police Department

GLAA on Public Safety

Norton gets assurances of hate crime treatment of murdered transgendered teens

For Immediate Release
September 18, 2002

Contact: Doxie A. McCoy
(202) 225-8050, (202) 225-8143-cell

NORTON GETS ASSURANCES OF HATE CRIME TREATMENT OF
MURDERED TRANSGENDER TEENS

Washington, D.C.- MPD Chief Charles Ramsey today called Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to assure her that D.C. Police are investigating the killings of Deon “Ukea” Davis and Wilbur “Stephanie” Thomas, two transgender teens, as a hate crime among other possible motives under investigation. Norton wrote Chief Ramsey yesterday asking that the August 12 murders be investigated as hate crimes because the execution-style shootings of Davis and Thomas strongly suggested that they were killed because of their sexual orientation. Norton said that she wanted the perpetrators swiftly brought to justice to avoid the impression that murders related to sexual orientation, however horrendous, may not receive the same attention as other crimes in the District.

The Congresswoman said: “I never doubted the work of our police department, which has a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit that has become very responsive to the gay community. However, if this crime had been committed in Georgia or South Carolina, many of us in the District would have been at rallies asserting that, in the absence of prosecution, such crimes reflect negatively on the jurisdiction where they occurred. I don’t ever want to feel that way about the progressive District of Columbia. Deterring this kind of crime is not only the business of police, but of every citizen who believes in human rights and a decent society.”

Chief Ramsey today assured the Congresswoman that as the case continues, police would keep her informed of the progress of the investigation.



For Immediate Release
September 17, 2002

Contact: Doxie A. McCoy
(202) 225-8050, (202) 225-8143-cell

NORTON URGES INVESTIGATION PRIORITY FOR
KILLINGS OF TRANSGENDER TEENS AS A HATE CRIME

Washington, D.C.- Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today wrote MPD Chief Charles Ramsey to ask him to officially classify the killings of two transgender teens as hate crimes and to make “a special effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.” Eighteen year old Deon “Ukea” Davis and 19 year old Wilbur “Stephanie” Thomas were the victims of execution-style shootings in Southeast Washington on August 12 that police said were unusually violent. In her letter, Norton said: “ These killings were so shocking that I believe that the point urgently needs to be made that the city will not tolerate the murder of people because of their sexual orientation and will use every available provision of law to prosecute such crimes.” The full text of the Norton letter follows:

September 17, 2002

Chief Charles Ramsey
Metropolitan Police Department
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

Dear Chief Ramsey:

I am writing to express my special concern about the recent violent deaths of two transgendered teens, Deon Ukea Davis and Wilbur Stephanie Thomas and to ask that the Metropolitan Police Department investigate and quickly resolve these murders as hate crimes. I understand that the investigation is ongoing, but that the murders have not been officially classified as Ahate crimes. However, the execution-style killings of these young people strongly suggests that Davis and Thomas were victims of hate crimes.

I am pressing in Congress for passage of federal hate crimes legislation to give the full measure of protection to people victimized solely because of their racial or ethic identity, religion, or sexual orientation. Congress has shamefully resisted adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes legislation, but, fortunately, the District has its own hate crimes legislation. These killings were so shocking that I believe that the point urgently needs to be made that the city will not tolerate the murder of people because of their sexual orientation and will use every available provision of law to prosecute such crimes. I believe that the apparent circumstances of these killings warrant a special effort to bring the perpetrators to justice. Otherwise, I fear that some may believe that crimes against transgendered people are not to be taken as seriously as crimes against other residents.

I am pleased at the progress MPD has made in building a more inclusive police force, and in connecting with the Gay Lesbian and Transgender community. I believe you will agree, however, that we should all be ashamed to live in a jurisdiction where such murders are committed, unless we make every effort to both prosecute and deter crimes against people where sexual orientation may be a cause.

As the investigation continues, I would appreciate further information on the progress of the investigation.

Sincerely,

(Signed)

Eleanor Holmes Norton


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