After Black Trans Man Killed, Calls for Police Chief’s Resignation

A Tallahassee, Fla., social justice group is calling for the resignation of the city’s police chief and other officers in the wake of the death of transgender man Tony McDade in a police shooting.

The Tallahassee Community Action Committee is also seeking release of body-camera footage and further investigation into McDade’s death, local TV station WCTV reports.

McDade was fatally shot by a police officer May 27 near an apartment complex. Police say McDade had stabbed another man to death just beforehand and had pointed a gun at the officer. The trans man had been attacked by a group of men a day earlier, and he had posted a video to Facebook of the assault as well as one saying he wanted revenge.

Also, McDade, who had been released from prison in January after serving time on a weapons charge, said he wanted to avoid being incarcerated again. He had been arrested early in May for threatening a person with a BB gun that resembled a real firearm; he always carried such a gun, according to a police report.

Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said McDade had pointed a gun at the officer who killed him. Witnesses said the officer was white; his name has not been publicly released. Revell said there was nothing to indicate the shooting was racially motivated. A grand jury will review the matter, which is a routine practice. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the grand jury investigation.

But the Tallahassee Community Action Committee is calling for a more thorough investigation, and immediately. It also wants the officer’s body-cam footage to be released, and for Revell and the officers involved to step down.

“People will try to tell you [McDade] just committed a stabbing,” Delilah Pierre of TCAC told the TV station. “People will judge him and act like they can have anything to say about his actions, and they have no right. They have no right to say anything about Tony McDade or his actions, when you’re a trans person, when you’re a black person who is constantly beaten down by the system in every way possible.” Pierre’s group also wants Mayor John Dailey, the City Commission, and the mayor’s LGBTQ advisory board to address racism and transphobia in the city.

McDade’s death came two days after that of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who died as a police officer kept him pinned to the ground, with the officer’s knee on his neck. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. It also came shortly after Breonna Taylor, a Black woman in Louisville, Ky., was shot to death by police in her apartment.

“Tony McDade should still be alive; George Floyd should be alive; Breonna Taylor should still be alive,” Natishia June, deputy field director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, told WCTV. “The list of black people who have been murdered by police is too long for people to ignore. The institutionalized racism in our country … must end today.”


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