R.I.P. Duanna Johnson
(Via Marja Erwin.)
Memphis police identified the body of transgender woman Duanna Johnson lying in the street near Hollywood and Staten Avenue early this morning.
Police believe Johnson was shot some time before midnight on Sunday. No suspects are in custody at this time.
Johnson was the victim of a Memphis police brutality case this summer when a video of former officer Bridges McRae beating her in a jail holding area was released to the media.
The video led to the eventual firing of McRae and Officer James Swain. It also led to the formation of a Stop Police Brutality Memphis, a coalition of human rights activists who lobbied the city council for more sensitivity training for Memphis Police officers.
A statement from the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center:Duanna bravely confronted the Memphis Police Department officers who brutalized her while she was in police custody. At great personal cost, Duanna was the public face of our community’s campaign against racism, homophobia, and transphobia. There was no justice for Duanna Johnson in life. The Mid-South Peace & Justice Center calls for justice in the investigation and prosecution of Duanna’s murder.
— Bianca Phillips, Memphis Flyer (2008-11-10): Transgender Beating Victim Found Dead in North Memphis
Because it’s important, and because it’s the decent thing to do, it’s one of the things you have to do in this life. But I hate remembering our dead. I am sick of there being more people every year that we have nothing left of but a memory. It’s not enough. It’s never enough.
But they deserve at least that. Duanna Johnson deserves at least that.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is held every year around November 20th. There is a list of community events online.