Jayne Thompson, 33, of Bisbee, Ariz., was shot to death May 9 in Mesa County, Colo., by a Colorado State Patrol officer. She was not identified as a trans woman until a month later, as she was misgendered and deadnamed in most media reports. Thompson had been observed standing at a highway intersection for a couple of hours, and the state patrol was called. The officer, Jason Wade, said he feared for his life when Thompson came at him with a knife, so he shot her three or four times, by his own estimate. County prosecutors decided not to charge him, saying his response was justified. But Thompson was obviously “in crisis,” Tori Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign’s director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said in a blog post.
“In reading about the fatal shooting of Jayne Thompson by a Colorado State Trooper, two things become clear,” Cooper said. “First, it is appalling that it took the media over a month to correctly identify Jayne with her correct name and pronouns. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people deserve dignity in death as well as life. Secondly, it is clear that Jayne was in crisis when she was approached by Colorado State Patrol. When members of the community need help, the expectation is to protect and serve and not to be killed.”