New York’s LGBT Community took another hit as Islan Nettles, 21, died of her injuries. Police are investigating her murder as a hate crime.
Nettles was taken off of life support after she was declared brain dead. She had been savagely beaten this past Saturday and had clung to life ever since at Harlem Hospital.
According to reports, Nettles was out with several other trans* women when, at around 11pm Saturday, they came across a group of men who attacked them for being trans*. According to the police, “the argument took place after the suspect learned that Nettles was not born a female.” The incident happened right across from the housing bureau’s Police Service Area 6 precinct.
The attacker yelled homophobic and transphobic slurs during the beating.
Nettles apparently dreamed of a career in fashion and had interned at the Ay’ Medici design house in Harlem.
A 20-year-old man named Paris Wilson has already been charged with Third Degree Assault and Harassment in the Second Degree. He is out on bail, but likely to now be facing murder charges.
The assault came in the middle of the NYC Mayoral campaign. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and Councilmembers Inez Dickens and Robert Jackson issued a statements saying that “We are outraged by reports of a possible hate crime that resulted in the tragic death of a transgender woman in Harlem. The 21 year old victim was walking home with friends when she was brutally assaulted.”
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, also a mayoral candidate, stated that:
This is a horrifying and painful moment for our city. Ms. Nettles’ murder was crime rooted in hate and ignorance. My heart goes out to her family and her friends as they come to terms with this inexplicable act of violence.
Make no mistake: The denial of fundamental rights to transgender New Yorkers fuels the appalling violence this community continues to face. That must end. Delivering justice here requires we investigate this hate crime and hold the perpetrator or perpetrators fully responsible. But it also demands we finally affirm the rights of transgender New Yorkers as full and equal members of our city, state and country.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer added “The savage beating death of a transgender women in Harlem this past weekend was an appalling and unacceptable crime that has no place in New York City. We pride ourselves on tolerance and generosity toward others in this City, but the murder of Islan Nettles is a reminder of how far we still have to go in ensuring that all New Yorkers can walk the streets with dignity and safety. My thoughts and prayers are with Nettle’s family, and I urge anyone with knowledge of this deplorable act to immediately contact the New York Police Department.”