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Florida Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, National Center for Transgender Equality Respond to Officer-Involved Shooting of Tony McDade

May 29, 2020

Tony McDade is at Least the Fifth Trans Person Killed Nationwide This Year, Everytown Research Shows

His Death Comes Amid Several Recent Police-Involved Shootings Across the Country That Have Spurred Protests

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements in response to the death of Tony McDade, a Black transgender man shot and killed by Tallahassee police Wednesday morning.

“Our hearts break for Tony’s family and friends,” said Gaby Padrón Loewenstein, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action. “While details are still emerging, Black people in America, especially those in the LGBTQ community, live with the threat of gun violence in ways that other Americans do not. Until we can ensure every member of our community is safe, there’s more work to be done.”

“Tony McDade will never get his day in court,” said Anna Logan, a student volunteer with Leon High School Students Demand Action. “This comes at a time when our country is keenly aware of the frequency of police violence against Black people in America.”

“Transgender people face extraordinary levels of physical and sexual violence, whether on the streets, at school or work, at home, or at the hands of government officials,” said Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, Deputy Executive Director at the National Center for Transgender Equality. “Transgender people of color, especially Black transgender people, are often pushed into desperate circumstances due to discrimination and rejection. According to our research, more than one in four trans people has faced a bias-driven assault, and rates are higher for Black trans people. Gun violence is responsible for many deaths in the trans community, and no matter who pulls the trigger, it’s unacceptable.”

Tony McDade is at least the fifth trans person to be shot and killed this year. Four of the five victims have been Black. Between 2017 and 2019, there were 80 homicides of trans or gender non-conforming people in America, and three in four of these victims were killed with a gun, Everytown Research shows. 

Everytown intentionally includes police-involved gun homicides in its ongoing tracking of fatal shootings of trans Americans, including the shooting of Scout Schultz, a 21-year-old engineering student and LGBTQ activist, who was shot by campus police officers at the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2017.

Research shows that Black Americans are far more likely to be shot and killed by law enforcement than their white counterparts. An analysis by the Washington Post found that “the rate at which Black Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans.”

Police-involved shootings have reverberating effects in communities that experience these shootings, decreasing public safety by damaging public trust in law enforcement, ultimately making communities less likely to believe the police will help in an emergency. Research finds that meaningful use of force policies reduce police shootings. By encouraging de-escalation, utilizing early intervention systems, and ensuring that officers who act in a manner that is criminally negligent can be held accountable, use of force policies can ensure that laws help advance safety and promote trust in the police.

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