Denali Berries Stuckey Is 12th Black Transgender Woman Killed in 2019

Denali Berries Stuckey was found shot to death in Charleston, South Carolina on July 20. She is the 12th Black transgender women killed in the United States this year. Police responded to 2721 Carner Avenue at around 4:05 a.m. after receiving a report of a body laying near the road. Officers found the 29-year-old victim, identified as Stuckey, dead at the scene, WCIV reported. Deputy Coroner Kimberly Rhoton misgendered her when identifying the victim. North Charleston Police Deputy Chief Scott Deckard said on July 21 that the investigation revealed that Stuckey identified as a transgender woman under the name Denali Berries. “The North Charleston Police Department recognizes, respects, and protects the rights of all citizens regardless of race, religion, gender, or beliefs and will continue working to ensure all citizens are treated fairly and courteously,” Deckard said in a statement. Stuckey’s death is being investigated as a homicide. North Charleston Police did not immediately respond to The North Star’s request for comment.

“I am heartbroken and outraged by the news of yet another murder of one of our transgender community members,” Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA) executive director Chase Glenn said in a statement. Glenn noted that Stuckey is the third known Black trans woman killed in the state since 2018.

“In this moment, we are focused on our responsibility to honor and memorialize Denali as she chose to identify herself, while raising much-needed awareness among the general public about the violence perpetrated against the transgender community — and more specifically trans women of color,” Glenn said. “We refuse to become numb. We will continue to say the names of these women and remember them how they would have wanted to be remembered.” According to Out Magazine, Stuckey was a native of Charleston and worked as a manicurist. The transgender community, including AFFA, Charleston Pride, We Are Family, Charleston Area Transgender Support, Charleston Black Pride, and SC Equality, held a vigil in Stuckey’s memory on July 22 at the Equality Hub in North Charleston.

Stuckey is the 12th Black trans woman killed in 2019. The 11th Black transgender woman killed this year was identified as 32-year-old Brooklyn Lindsey from Kansas City, Missouri, according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Lindsey was found dead on the porch of an abandoned home in the Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City on June 25, The Kansas City Star reported. Police said the cause of death had not been determined but she had clear signs of trauma to her face. Neighbors told authorities that they heard an argument around 2:30 a.m. and several gunshots. “It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia, and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive,” the advocacy organization wrote in a blog post dedicated to Lindsey. “This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color — particularly Black transgender women — must cease.”

There have been a number of high profile deaths of Black transgender women. On June 7, Layleen Polanco was found unresponsive in her cell in the Restrictive Housing Unit at the Rose M. Singer Center on Rikers Island. Polanco’s death, which was reportedly not the result of violence or foul play, prompted a “full investigation,” Department of Correction Commissioner Cynthia Brann told The North Star. Friends and family deny that Polanco would have taken her own life.

In May, trans advocate Michelle “Tamika” Washington, 40, was fatally shot in Philadelphia. Police arrested 28-year-old Troy Bailey the following day in connection with her murder, police said.

The HRC said that the deaths of at least 26 transgender people were tracked in 2018. In 2015, the US Transgender Survey (USTS) found that nearly one in 10 respondents said they were physically assaulted for being transgender. Overall, 42 percent of those surveyed said they experienced some form of intimate partner violence that included physical abuse or threats over their lifetime.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.