A Black transgender woman named Kiwi Herring has been shot and killed by police in St. Louis, Missouri, the latest victim in a series of shootings this summer.
A relative of Herring’s, Crevonda Nance, said she was killed as officers responded to an ongoing dispute with her neighbors.
Police arrived at the scene to find a man had been stabbed. The victim said his attacker was in the apartment next door.
Officers said the suspect was Herring and alleged she then attacked one of them with a large kitchen knife.
Both men fired their weapons at Herring, shooting her multiple times.
Kiwi Herring, a blk trans woman, was shot to death by police in her home yesterday. She's the 18th trans person killed in the U.S. this year pic.twitter.com/09g3XUje68— Devin Michael Lowe (@ThatBoyYouLike) August 23, 2017
Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole told local media that the original dispute between the neighbors might have occurred due to a fire earlier that day in the building.
But Herring’s relative, Nance, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Herring, who had been raising three children with her partner who is also transgender — and who has been arrested as a suspect — often asked her: “Why can’t people judge me for what I am or what I do instead of what I look like or what they think I should look like?”
According to Nance, the family had been harassed and felt threatened since they moved to the neighborhood from Mississippi several years ago, including by neighbors. She questioned whether police had targeted the right person in the dispute.
A vigil was held on Tuesday night in the city in protest of Herring’s death, as well as a spate of other recent fatal shootings by St. Louis police. Since May, 6 people have been killed.
Protests have also been held against her death in New York City, in front of the African Burial Ground National Monument.
A 2016 report by National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, NCAVP, found that transgender women “experience a greater risk of death by hate violence than any other group” in the United States.
The justice system itself also represents a huge barrier to curbing anti-transgender violence. Even if they are not engaged in survival behaviors that are criminalized, transgender people who report to police that they have been victimized by physical or sexual assault, face the risk of being harassed or intimidated by law enforcement.
In fact, the NCAVP found that transgender people of color were 6 times more likely to experience physical violence from the police than the rest of the population.
This article has been amended from a previous version which erroneously published a dead name for the victim. We apologise for any offense caused.