Pair of Shootings Target Black Transgender Women in Pennsylvania

Mia Green became the 29th transgender individual to suffer a violent death so far this year.
Human Rights Campaign

The rash of gun violence targeting Black transgender women nationwide has recently swept through Pennsylvania, where one woman is clinging to her life after she was shot 16 times by police officers in Reading and another woman was shot to death in Philadelphia.

The most recent incident involved the late 29-year-old Mia Green, who was killed on the morning of September 28. Police officers discovered Green in the passenger seat of a Jeep Wrangler when the vehicle was pulled over for running a stop sign on 41st Street and Westminster Avenue in Philadelphia. Officers then escorted the vehicle to Penn-Presbyterian Hospital, where Green was pronounced dead, according to Metro Philadelphia, Gay City News’ sister publication.

The driver of that vehicle, Abdullah Ibn Elamin Jaamia, was subsequently charged with murder, possession of an instrument of crime with intent, obstruction, lying to authorities, tampering with evidence, and reckless endangerment.

NBC Philadelphia reported that Green and Jaaima were involved in a relationship, though there are few details surrounding the circumstances of Green’s death.

Including Green, at least 29 known transgender individuals across the United States have suffered violent deaths this year, which already exceeds last year’s death toll of 25.

Meanwhile, a different Black transgender woman is in critical but stable condition after police officers shot her 16 times in Reading on September 13 — and her family is stressing that she needed mental healthcare instead of getting more than a dozen shots lodged into her body. 

Prosecutors in Berks County claimed the incident originated when Roxanne Moore was embroiled in an argument on the morning of the shooting in an apartment at the 800 block of Franklin Street. Moore allegedly ignited a small fire on the stove, at which point others in the apartment confronted her. 

According to prosecutors, Moore then stole a handgun from an individual, left the apartment, and waved the handgun in the air. She subsequently walked down the street and pistol-whipped one man before chasing another individual while pointing the gun at him, according to the DA’s office. Police arrived minutes later, at which point they claimed she ran through a crosswalk and up a street while pointing the gun at a police car. Multiple attempts to convince her to drop the gun went unanswered and multiple officers shot her, authorities said. Importantly, however, the DA’s office did not provide an explanation as to why officers shot Moore 16 times.

Still, prosecutors defended the police officers — who have yet to be named.

“District Attorney John T. Adams has found that the shooting was a reasonable use of force justified under the law,” the DA’s office said in a written statement. “The Berks County Detective’s Office is expected to file criminal charges, including aggravated assault and robbery, against the suspect once she is medically cleared and discharged from the hospital.”

Authorities have released a handful of still surveillance images allegedly showing Moore during the incident. While the DA’s office noted that the full surveillance video will be provided to Moore’s attorney, prosecutors said “footage will not be released to the public at this time since this is an open investigation and the footage could affect the suspect’s right to a fair and impartial trial.”

Moore’s family and friends held a demonstration on September 20 at City Park in Reading, where more than 50 people gathered to advocate on behalf of Moore, according to the Reading Eagle. The community also sought to shine a light on the importance of mental health and underscore the message that Black trans lives matter.

Moore’s story has sparked queer communities in other regions to advocate on her behalf. Black LGBTQ organizers are planning a rally in Times Square at 5 p.m. on October 2 and intend to denounce the attack on Moore as one that was racist and transphobic. Activists have maintained that the assertions made by the authorities in the case are unconfirmed since officers still have yet to release the footage or name the police officers involved in the shooting.

Those interested in attending the Times Square rally are asked to wear black clothing, social distance, and wear a mask.

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