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According to the Anti-Defamation League’s discouraging Hate Crimes Assessment Task Force Report, released in February, trans people have been targets for harassment and violence from the Metropolitan Police Department.
“The picture that emerged of the interactions between police officers and transgender people from the community meetings is consistent and troubling,” reads the report. It describes a relationship between the police and the trans community wherein trans people are subject to injustices ranging from insensitivity and ridicule to outright physical attacks. What the report failed to mention is that trans women of color make up a significant percentage of the victims.
What is the MPD doing to address these issues? After the report was released, Chief Cathy Lanier (who’d commissioned the task force) agreed to take 22 of the ADL’s recommendations under advisement, including those that called the restructuring of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit a major factor in limiting the MPD’s effectiveness. But just days after Lanier’s pronouncement, a black transwoman was arrested after being forcibly removed from her driver’s seat by a white, partially masked officer and repeatedly asked to identify her race. While Lanier and the MPD struggle to address internal issues, the trans community is continuing to gather testimonies and bear witness.