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Philadelphia Police Fail To Investigate Suspicious Death of a Transgender Woman
CALL OUT FOR SUPPORT TO DEMAND JUSTICE FOR ERICA KEEL
THIS FRIDAY, MAY 11TH, 4pm, at 12O1 LOCUST ST
OPEN PLANNING MEETING
On March 22nd of this year, Erica Keel, a 20-yr-old African American trans woman, was fatally run over at Broad and Thompson streets in North Philadelphia. According to witness accounts, the driver in question intentionally ran over Erica four times after ejecting her from his car. A medical examiner's report supports these accounts. However, the police have ruled Erica's death an accident and have refused to conduct an investigation. The driver, Roland Button, fled the scene but was later apprehended by police. He has yet to face criminal charges, including "hit and run." When friends of Erica, who are themselves trans, questioned police officials about the classification of Erica's death as an "accident," they were asked to disclose their "birth" names and were told they were "trying to make something out of nothing."
As community members and allies, we are asking for your support in challenging police injustice by demanding a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding Erica's death. Our efforts to demand justice for Erica are part of building a larger strategy to address state violence against trans youth of color in Philadelphia.
Please join us THIS FRIDAY at 4pm at the Washington West Project, 1201 Locust St., to help plan a demonstration. For more information contact Savannah: 267-879-1339 firstname.lastname@example.org
Some further coverage of Erica Keel's death is available through the Philadelphia Gay News here and here. The Philadelphia police have a history of abusive and dismissive behavior towards transgender people, as Amnesty International has reported. Erica was engaged in sex work when she died; neither her sex work nor her status as transgender should mean her death deserves less than a full investigation.