Activists call out CPD for not doing enough to solve Murders of 2 Trans Genders

(Sun Times Wire) Friends and relatives of Dejanay Stanton joined LGBTQ activists in a rally Thursday outside Chicago Police Headquarters, where they demanded police do more to solve the nearby murder of the transgender woman two months ago.

At the rally, 3510 S. Michigan Ave., speakers called for CPD to pour more resources into solving the cases of Stanton, 24, who was found shot to death Aug. 30 in Bronzeville, and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, 31, a transgender woman whose body was discovered with multiple stab wounds on Oct. 3 in West Garfield Park.

Both cases were ruled to be homicides, according to Chicago police. But activists said that police have not done enough to track down their killers and protect the city’s trans population in general.

“Trans lives matter,” Stanton’s mother, Valerie Griffin, said at the rally. “We need to hold [the killers] accountable, the city accountable. And we just need to realize that trans people … are just like all the rest of us.”

Dozens in the crowd of about 60 people held signs with the phrase, “Black trans lives matter,” printed over a background of pink, blue and white stripes.

Chicago police said Thursday that investigations into Stanton and Frazier’s murders remain ongoing. A person of interest was briefly taken into custody earlier this month in connection with Frazier’s death but was released, police said.

“We take every single act of violence in Chicago very seriously, and no matter the crime, every reported offense is thoroughly investigated by CPD officers and detectives,” CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement. “We even have dedicated outreach units to better communicate and serve our LGBTQ communities which for too long we’ve under recognized.”

Activists from LGBTQ groups Equality Illinois, Broadway Youth Center and Brave Space Alliance attended the rally, saying that CPD committed outsized resources to other cases.

Brian Johnson, the CEO of Equality Illinois, pointed out the police department’s swift decision to unleash about 40 detectives into Rogers Park following the manhunt last month for a masked gunman who slayed two men 36 hours apart in the Far North Side neighborhood.

“It has been nearly two months since Dejanay was murdered and nearly one month since Ciara was murdered,” Johnson told the crowd. “How many detectives are on the case? Where is the justice?”

The demands proposed at the rally include assigning more detectives to Stanton and Frazier’s cases, installing a black trans woman on the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability and pooling additional resources to protect trans people in Chicago, especially trans women of color.

“My sisters have been slain left and right,” said LaSaia Wade, executive director of the Chicago trans advocacy group Brave Space Alliance and former mentor to Stanton. “Their blood is on these streets.”
Frazier was the 22nd trans woman to be murdered in the U.S. this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign — though the total is likely higher given the possibility that some victims’ genders were misidentified. The group reported 28 homicides of transgender people in 2017.

In Chicago last year, Tiara Richmond, a 24-year-old black trans woman, was shot to death in Englewood — less than six months after T.T. Saffore was found with her throat slit September 2016. No suspect has been charged in either case.

The Thursday rally came on the heels of a trying week for the LGBTQ community in America, with a Monday report that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering new gender definitions that would essentially erase the identity of transgender Americans.

“We got to keep striving, and keep surviving, and finding ways that we can survive,” Wade said at the rally. “We know the system very well and very close. It keeps killing us and will continue to kill us.”

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