Police: Death of transgender woman a possible hate crime

Posted at 2:14 PM, Aug 24, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-24 16:14:00-04

By Laura Ly


NEW YORK (CNN) — The death of a transgender woman brutally beaten in New York is being investigated as a hate crime, authorities said.

Islan Nettles, 21, was attacked in the early morning hours on August 17.

She died Thursday as a result of “blunt impact head injuries,” said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner’s office.

The death has been ruled a homicide, Borakove said.

Paris Wilson, 20, was arrested on the scene and charged with two counts of third-degree assault and one count of second-degree harassment.

Wilson allegedly hit Nettles on the head “with a closed fist,” causing the victim to fall to the ground.

Once on the ground, he allegedly continued to strike Nettles in the face.

A police officer reported that he observed Nettles “unconscious on the ground with a swollen shut eye and blood on her face,” according to a criminal complaint.

The attack occurred in Harlem, just across the street from the station office of Police Service Area 6, which patrols public housing developments in the neighborhood.

Nettles was pursuing a degree in fashion marketing, and hoped to work in the industry after graduation, according to her LinkedIn page. She and friends were reportedly the targets of hateful and discriminatory language at the time of the attack.

“They were called faggots, they were called he-shes, she-males, things of that nature,” Dolores Nettles, the victim’s mother, told CNN affiliate WABC.

CNN’s request for comment from the suspect’s attorney was not immediately returned.

Wilson remains out on bail. His next court date is scheduled for October 4.

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