A transgender woman who was attacked in Dallas, Texas last month has now been shot and killed in what police believe is an unrelated incident.
Officers discovered the body of Muhlaysia Booker, 23, in Dallas on May 18 after responding to a shooting at around 7 a.m.
At a news conference streamed live on Facebook on May 19, Major Vincent Weddington said that Booker had been “lying facedown in the street, deceased from homicidal violence."
Video obtained by WFAA of Dallas, Texas showed Booker being brutally attacked only a month earlier. The footage from April 12 shows men repeatedly punching and kicking a grounded Booker as she struggled to escape. Homophobic slurs were shouted throughout the incident. A group of women ultimately came to her rescue. Booker was taken to a hospital and treated for a concussion and a fractured wrist.
According to an affidavit, Edward Thomas had been paid $200 to attack Booker after she allegedly attempted to flee following a minor car accident in a parking lot, according to BuzzFeed News. Thomas has admitted to the attack but denied calling her derogatory names, according to an arrest affidavit. Others still may face charges pertaining to the attack.
The FBI confirmed to NBC 5 of Fort Worth, Texas that they would be working with Dallas police to determine whether the April attack will be classified as a hate crime. The FBI would not confirm if it had opened a formal investigation.
Leslie McMurray, the transgender education and advocacy coordinator at the Resource Center in Dallas, was repulsed by the altercation.
"It's utterly terrifying," McMurray told WFAA. "You could just feel the energy and the malevolence of this crowd escalate as the violence ensued and there was no voice standing up saying stop."
Thomas, who has since been arrested and released after posting bond, is not believed to have any connection to Booker's death, according to The New York Times.
Police are still working to identify suspects in Booker's killing, according to BuzzFeed News. They are unsure if the killing will be classified as a hate crime, according to Assistant Chief Avery Moore.
"We recognize that hate crimes, if you will, are a serious topic," Avery said to The Dallas Morning News. "We at the Dallas Police Department take them serious."
Lee Merritt, a Dallas civil rights attorney, says that minority communities now fear retaliation for reporting crimes against them.
"There is a legitimate concern that the community doesn't take seriously," Merritt said to The Dallas Morning News.
Police would not say if Booker had received threats before she was killed.
Deadly attacks against transgender women — and specifically transgender women of color, who statistically face disproportionately large amounts of violence — have been on the rise, according to the ACLU. At least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States in 2018, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. Most of the victims were black women.
The statistics about anti-trans violence may not reflect the reality of violence faced by the LGBTQ community, as police are not required to report information on the subject in any kind of database. Police also continue to report inaccurate information about transgender victims, often using incorrect names and genders in their public information, according to The Times.
Booker had been thankful that she had survived the vicious attack at a press conference last month.
“This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the city of Dallas,” she said, according to CBS 11 of Grapevine, Texas. “This time, I can stand before you. Whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial.”
Anyone with information about Booker's death is being urged to call Detective David Grubbs at 214-671-3675 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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