Connect with us

News

Transgender woman deported from US murdered in El Salvador

Camila one of two trans women recently murdered in country

Published

on

A transgender woman who the U.S. deported back to her native El Salvador died earlier this month after she was attacked outside the country’s capital.

Editor’s note: A Spanish version of this story that El Salvador Correspondent Ernesto Valle wrote was published on the Washington Blade’s website on Feb. 16. This article has been updated with additional details about Camila and her deportation from the U.S.

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — A transgender woman who the U.S. deported back to her native El Salvador died earlier this month after she was attacked outside the country’s capital.

Asociación Aspidh Arcoiris Trans, a Salvadoran trans advocacy group, told the Washington Blade that Aurora, who was also known as Camila, had been reported missing at the end of January.

The group looked for Camila at various hospitals and eventually learned she had been admitted to Rosales National Hospital in San Salvador, the Salvadoran capital, on Jan. 31 with multiple injuries. Camila passed away on Feb. 3.

She was found on Carretera de Oro above the municipality of Soyapango outside of San Salvador. It remains unclear what happened to Camila.

Activists with whom the Blade spoke said threats that Camila received prompted her to travel to the U.S. with one of the migrant caravans that left Central America last year. They said the U.S. deported Camila and she had been in El Salvador for 4-5 months before her death.

“She migrated to the U.S. because of threats that she had received, but she was deported because they didn’t believe her,” Aislinn Odaly’s, an independent LGBTI rights advocate, told the Blade.

Camila is the second trans women reported killed in El Salvador this month.

A trans woman who used the name Lolita was killed with a machete on Feb. 8. The murder took place in Sonsonate, but trans rights organizations don’t have any additional information.

El Salvador’s National Civil Police and the country’s attorney general have not classified either murder as a hate crime, in part, because Lolita and Camila died in public hospitals where the reports that were made did not mention they were victims of violence.

“We want justice and that these cases are investigated and the reformed penal code procedures to be applied when those who are responsible are found,” Aspidh Arcoiris Trans Projects Coordinator Ambar Alfaro told the Blade, referring to a 2015 amendment to El Salvador’s legal code that enhances penalties for hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. “Although we have begun the year badly, we hope these crimes establish precedents for there to also be a positive legal framework that regulates the situation of trans people, especially the situation of violence and insecurity.”

The lack of action on the part of the judicial system to investigate hate crimes has created a widespread feeling of anxiety among El Salvador’s LGBTI activists. “It is unfortunate that although we have articles in the penal code that (allow for the classification of) crimes committed against trans people as hate crimes, they are not put into practice,” Miss Trans El Salvador 2018 Tatiana Molina, who is also an LGBTI activist, told the Blade. “Such is the case of all the crimes that have occurred in recent years and specifically the cases of Camila and Lolita. That is why we are demanding justice and the prompt investigation and prosecution of these cases.”

The increase in anti-LGBTI hate crimes and the lack of prosecution of them has sparked increased fear among community members. “I feel outraged, insecure and even more so I am afraid of any reaction of a homophobic or transphobic person who can harm us while walking in the streets,” said Odaly’s.

Aspidh Arcoiris Trans has made formal complaints in Camila’s case and continues to give special attention to it. Advocacy groups have also filed formal complaints in Lolita’s case, but it remains unclear whether any investigation into either murder or those who may be responsible has begun.

A spokesperson for the National Civil Police has not returned the Blade’s request for comment.

Casa Ruby working with trans Salvadoran women detained by ICE

El Salvador, which borders Guatemala and Honduras, has one of the world’s highest per capita murder rates. Thousands of people — including trans women who are even more vulnerable to violence from gang members, police and family members because of their gender identity — have migrated from El Salvador in hopes of reaching the U.S. and other countries that include Mexico.

The Blade earlier this month confirmed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was housing 45 trans women at a privately-run detention center in Texas. Some of the detained trans women for whom the D.C.-based Casa Ruby is working to provide housing are from El Salvador.

Lolita was killed in Sonsonate, El Salvador, on Feb. 8, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Aspidh Arcoiris Trans)
Continue Reading
Advertisement

U.S. Federal Courts

Suspended prosecutor files suit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

“What’s happening here is, he’s trying to throw out a free and fair election,” Warren said on CNN early Wednesday

Published

on

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (L) Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren (R) (Screenshot/YouTube WFTX-TV, Fox 4 News Cape Coral)

FORT MYERS, Fl. – Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, an elected Florida prosecutor removed from office by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis for signing a national pledge to not prosecute women and doctors for violating Florida abortion statues or families seeking treatments for transgender minors, filed suit Wednesday in United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Governor DeSantis’ office issued a statement two weeks ago saying: “We are suspending Soros-backed 13th circuit state attorney Andrew Warren for neglecting his duties as he pledges not to uphold the laws of the state.”

DeSantis’s move, per a clause in the state’s constitution, would have the effect of removing Warren from office. 

“DeSantis’s Order does not identify any actual conduct by Warren related to his official duties involving alleged criminal activity for seeking gender-affirming healthcare or abortion,” the lawsuit said. “DeSantis’s Order does not identify any other conduct by Warren or other reason sufficient to justify a suspension.”

“What’s happening here is, he’s trying to throw out a free and fair election,” Warren said on CNN early Wednesday. “Even my 8-year-old understands this.”

Warren described the pledge circulated by prosecutors around the country as “a value statement,” not a definitive decision on how he might handle any particular case. He also noted that Florida’s new ban on abortions after 15 weeks of gestation has been ruled unconstitutional and that the state doesn’t even have a law against hormone treatments for transgender minors.

“The First Amendment protects the right of elected officials to speak out on matters of public controversy, and in fact, it does so because it’s so important that the voters who choose these elected officials know where they stand on these issues,” Jean-Jacques Cabou, a lawyer for Warren, said in a phone interview with Fox affiliate WFTX-TV, Fox 4 News Cape Coral.

Continue Reading

Utah

Prosecutors announce hate crime charges in attack on gay teenage couple

A 17-year-old was charged with assault, the 19-year-old was charged with criminal mischief & both youths with hate crime enhancements

Published

on

Christian Peacock (L) and Jacob Metcalf (Screenshot via KUTV 2 CBS Salt Lake City

SANDY, Ut. – Christian Peacock and his boyfriend Jacob Metcalf were standing at the end of Peacock’s driveway in this suburban Salt Lake City town hugging and quietly chatting in “a long goodbye for the night,” two weeks ago when a Nissan-Infinity sedan with five young male occupants rolled by slowing down and one of them yelled “Fuck you, faggots.”

Minutes later the Infinity returned and one of the young males got out and continued act aggressively using homophobic epithets and then when Christian Peacock stepped in to protect his boyfriend, he was punched sending him to hospital that left him with a mild concussion and brain swelling.

Earlier this week the Salt Lake City Tribune reported that a 17-year-old boy has been charged with allegedly punching Peacock sending him to hospital.

Sgt. Greg Moffitt with the Sandy Police Department told media outlets that the 17-year-old suspect’s friend, Hayden Perry Stowell, 19, also faces charges, after he went back and allegedly vandalized the LGBTQ Pride flags displayed in front of the Peacock home in retaliation for his friend’s arrest.

Prosecutors have added hate crime enhancements added to both of their other court charges.

The Tribune reported that the 17-year-old was charged in juvenile court with assault, a third-degree felony; and initiating a riot, a second-degree felony.

Stowell has been charged in 3rd District Court with retaliation against a witness, a third-degree felony; and criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor.

The charging documents for the 17-year-old say he told police he approached the couple and “clearly targeted” them due to their sexual orientation, the Tribune reported.

He allegedly also told officers that he didn’t like that Peacock and Metcalf were displaying physical affection openly in their driveway. The 17-year-old refused to identify anyone who was in the car with him at the time of the attack, the charges state.

A witness later identified Stowell as also one of the occupants of the car during the attack on Peacock.

Peacock’s boyfriend had recorded portions of the incident which was later posted to social media. According to the Tribune, Jocelynn, 19, Peacock’s sister grabbed her phone and started taking pictures of the alleged assailant and the others in the car. She also chased the car down the street and captured the license plate number. She then shared both on her Instagram and Snapchat pages.

One of her friends recognized the car and knew the person who drove it and gave Jocelynn the kid’s address. Jocelynn went there and spoke to the mother of that boy.

“Do you know what your son has done?” she asked, according to Peacock and Metcalf, who went with her.

The Salt Lake Tribune and other media outlets in the Salt Lake region generally do not identify minors who have been charged with crimes, unless they have been charged and bound over for trial in adult court.

The case could become a test of the state’s new hate crime law, which hasn’t been used extensively since it was put in place in 2019 after a Latino father and son were attacked at their tire shop, the Tribune noted.

A community group had put up Pride flags to show support for Peacock and his boyfriend Metcalf in their neighborhood but surveillance footage taken two weeks after the attack — shows Stowell, the suspected vandal, outside the victim’s home, according to the Sandy Police Department.

Stowell allegedly pulled out the flags, which were found “strewn about” the front yard and the street, police said, and at least one flagpole was broken, the Tribune reported adding that Stowell allegedly “ripped down the pride flags” 12 hours after his 17-year-old friend was booked into juvenile detention in connection with the July 30 assault, charging documents state, noting that the suspected vandal’s “only clear purpose” was to “further intimidate and harass” the victim’s family.

Both the teenage victim and his sister have been “struggling with anxiety and fear since the assault on July 30, 2022,” charging documents note, “and with the continued intimidation they felt by the damage to their flags.”

An attorney for the Peacock and Metcalf families sent KUTV 2News a statement Tuesday afternoon:

“There can be no place in Utah for hate crimes. We appreciate the swift and continuing efforts of the Sandy Police Department, Sim Gill, and the District Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute the hate crimes that targeted our family. We also thank our friends and neighbors in Sandy, including Mayor Monica Zoltanski, for standing by us and making clear that hate crimes will not be tolerated in Sandy.”

Continue Reading

Los Angeles County

LA County Sheriff’s Dept. seeks public’s help in missing person case

Jai Rmanii Hicks, or Rmanii, 23, Black female last seen on July 16, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. on the 200 block of West Woodbury Road in Altadena

Published

on

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Missing Persons Unit investigators are asking for the public’s help locating Missing Person Jai Rmanii Hicks, also known as Rmanii.

She is a 23 year-old female Black who was last seen on July 16, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. on the 200 block of West Woodbury Road in Altadena.

Rmanii is 5’10” tall, 185 lbs, shoulder length red hair styled in dreadlocks, brown eyes, symbol of an ankh tattoo on back, picture of a girl tattoo on right thigh, and a tribal symbol tattoo below chest. She was last seen wearing a black shirt, black pants, and a brown backpack.

Her family is concerned with her well-being and is asking for the public’s help.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit at (323) 890-5500.

If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular