A black trans woman in Chicago has accused an officer from the Chicago PD of sexually assaulting her in a marked police car.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the woman, who remains unnamed by local media, reported the alleged assault at Rush University Medical Center shortly after it occurred in March. She claimed a “white shirt”—a common nickname for CPD supervisors referencing their uniforms—forced her to perform a sex act. She also provided DNA evidence she alleges implicates the officer in her assault.
The transgender woman, 39, quoted the officer, a CPD sergeant, as threatening to make her “one of my regulars,” insisting that she’d be arrested for prostitution if she refused to comply with his demands. If she didn’t want to go jail, the sergeant told her, she’d have to perform a sex act on him because “that’s what you do,” the woman relayed to detectives.
In April, the sergeant, who is also unnamed, retired from the force. He’d announced his plan to retire to his team prior to the alleged assault, the Tribune reports.
It wasn’t his first infraction of CPD rules, either. Police records revealed that the same officer was recommended for a firing 20 years ago after threatening to jail a convicted felon under fabricated drug charges.
Instead of being fired, the officer in question was issued a 30-day suspension.
I unapologetically support our trans community and stand with @BSAllianceChi the only Black-led trans-led LGBTQ Center in Chicago. I will fight for policies that affirm & protect all gender identities and sexual orientations against violence and discrimination. #TransLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/TV4mTJ7nwV
— Kina Collins (@Kina4Congress) May 21, 2019
In a statement to the Tribune, LaSaia Wade, executive director of the Brave Space Alliance LGBTQ advocacy group in Chicago, said the victim’s allegations were particularly disturbing given the drastic power imbalance in the situtation. According to Wade, transgender people—especially trans women of color—are uniquely vulnerable to sexual assault.
This spring has been especially deadly for transgender Americans, too, with at least three black trans women losing their lives to hate-motivated violence in the month of June alone.
Internal investigators at CPD are still waiting for the results of the alleged victim’s DNA test.