Black Transgender Woman Attacked in Texas Found Dead

A Black transgender woman who was attacked in Dallas, Texas last month has been found dead, the Dallas Police Department said. Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was shot and killed on Saturday, May 18, Major Vincent Weddington of the Dallas Police Department said in a news conference. Booker’s body was found at around 6:45 am on Saturday and her identity was confirmed on Sunday. Authorities have said there is no evidence linking the killing to the April attack.

In April, Booker made national headlines after a three-minute video of their assault went viral. The video shows Booker, who is wearing a pink wig, being repeatedly punched by a man named Edward Thomas, before other men join in to kick her.

The incident was considered a hate crime and police arrested Thomas, 29, for alleged aggravated assault. During the conference, Weddington said Thomas was no longer in police custody and said the department is still investigating both incidents.

“We are encouraging the public to come forward with any information to bring closure to these offenses,” said Weddington. On May 20, the Dallas Police Department announced on their Facebook page it would hold an LGBTQ+ town hall meeting with Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall on Thursday, May 23. Monica Roberts, the media coordinator for the National Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, told The North Star that the coalition is angered by the news.

“It’s literally been a month since she’s been viciously attacked and they’re still trying to sort out this case. And now she’s dead,” said Roberts. Roberts slammed the Dallas Police Department and the fact that others involved in the April attack are still not in jail. Roberts is also angered that other Black Civil Rights organizations, such as the Texas NAACP, have remained silent following the news of Booker’s death. She urged the Black community to come together to stand up and stop the attacks against Black transgender women.

“The anti-transgender agenda pushed by the Trump administration and Republican Party is out of control,” Roberts told The North Star. “We need to come together. We’re tired of it, we’re really tired of it.”

Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said in a statement on May 20 that he is “heartbroken” by the 23-year-old’s death. “Muhlaysia's death comes after surviving a vicious attack just weeks prior. She is the fourth Black trans woman to be killed in 2019 — all fatally shot. Lawmakers must act to address this horrific epidemic of anti-trans violence,” Griffin wrote on Twitter.

The HRC has recorded at least 26 deaths of transgender people in the US in 2018. The organization noted that most of the targeted victims that died were Black transgender women.

“While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable,” the HRC stated in its report.

The Dallas Police Department encourages anyone with information about Booker’s death to contact Homicide Detective David Grubbs at 214-671-3675 or via email at david.grubbsjr@dallascityhall.com and refer to case number 098748-2019. Crime Stoppers is also offering up to a $5,000 reward for any information about this case or other felonies. Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 214-373-TIPS (8477).


About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.