Citing fatal assault of transgender woman, pols push for GENDA

A transgender woman was assaulted in Harlem, prompting New York state politicians to call for the passage of a transgender-protection law called GENDA. Credit: Yumi Kimura/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
A transgender woman was assaulted in Harlem, prompting New York state politicians to call for the passage of a transgender-protection law called GENDA. Credit: Yumi Kimura/Flickr/Wikimedia Commons

The deadly assault of a transgender woman in Harlem last weekend has some New York political figures up in arms, calling for the passage of a state law that has been consistently tabled over the last several years.

The law, known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), would prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals and expand hate crimes law to include their protection.

The assault occurred Aug. 17 a little after midnight, police said.

Officers from Police Service Area 6 were alerted to an assault in progress on Eighth Avenue between 147th and 148th streets, where they found the victim, 21-year-old Islan Nettles, lying in the street.

They arrested Paris Wilson, 20, and charged him with assault. While Nettles was in the hospital, police learned of derogatory remarks made during the assault, prompting the Hate Crimes Task Force to get involved in the investigation.

According to the criminal complaint filed in court by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, Wilson punched Nettles in the head repeatedly until she fell to the ground, at which point he continued punching her in the face.

When she was discovered by police, one of her eyes was swollen shut and her face was covered in blood.

Wilson was out on bail at the time that Nettles succumbed to her injuries and died at Harlem Hospital on Aug. 22. Police said the medical examiner would conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death. Contingent on the ME’s findings, Wilson’s charges could be upgraded from assault to something more severe, police said.

That upgrade will be up to the District Attorney’s Office, which has emphasized that the investigation “is very much ongoing.”

The D.A.’s office also reported that someone other than Wilson went to the police precinct after the assault and made statements implicating himself or herself in the assault.

The D.A.’s office is actively pursuing this and other leads as the investigation continues.

State Sen. Daniel Squadron, GENDA’s Senate sponsor, decried Nettles’ “horrifying and tragic” death, and referenced the recent spate of anti-gay hate crimes in New York City.

“Let’s be clear: Intolerance, discrimination and hate have no place in New York or anywhere,” Squadron said in a statement. ”Each outrage is another call: It’s time for New York to send that message loudly and clearly by finally passing GENDA.”

State Sen. Brad Hoylman joined the charge as well, lamenting the current state of affairs for transgender individuals in New York.

“The truth is that in most parts of New York, transgender individuals have little recourse to protect themselves from the violence, hatred and discrimination afflicted upon them,” Hoylman said. “Ms. Nettles’s death should serve as a wake up call to my colleagues in the state Senate that we need to act now to protect New Yorkers like her, and ensure that she did not die in vain.”

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.