NYPD Investigate Murder of Trans Woman as a Hate Crime
The New York Police Department are investigating the murder of a transgender woman as a hate crime, the British newspaper the Guardian reports.
Islan Nettles, 21, who went by the name Vaughn Nettles and Alon Nettles, died Thursday five days after she was assaulted on the street in New York City.
The medical examiner's office will determine a cause of death.
Last Saturday night, Nettles and her friend, also a transgender woman, were walking through Harlem when they were attacked by a group of men.
One of the suspects punched Nettles in the face, according to police. Witnesses initially said they did not hear the men use anti-LGBT slurs, and a suspect, Paris Wilson, 20, was arrested on an assault charge.
After the attack, Nettles was hospitalized and went into a coma, later dying on Thursday.
Witnesses later told authorities that the suspects did use anti-LGBT language and NYC's hate crime task force looked into the incident. NYPD detectives are also investigating whether the suspect propositioned Nettles. Police said upgrading the charges is a possibility, depending on the outcome of the medical examiner's report.
The attack follows a string of anti-LGBT incidents that have hit NYC since spring. The death of Nettles marks the first fatality since the shooting death of 32-year-old Mark Carson, who was killed in Greenwich Village. A suspect arrested on a charge of murder as a hate crime.