A Black transgender woman was fatally shot in a hotel in Jacksonville, Florida, last Sunday. Her death is not only the second one involving a trans woman this week, but her friends say the police misidentified her gender and potentially delayed the investigation.
When the crime was first discovered, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office first told local reporters the victim was a 36-year-old man, according to The Florida Times-Union. However, the victim was later identified as Celine Walker, a transgender.
Walker was found unresponsive at an Extended Stay America hotel. She was pronounced dead at the scene, reported The Advocate.
When friends of Celine called the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to complain about the misgendering, they were told the police department does not refer to people as transgender. Several people have posted on Facebook and requested spread the word about Celine's misgendering.
“There are several parts of this story that disturb me very much,” Naomi Michaels wrote on Facebook. “One is that Jacksonville is home to some of the most amazingly talented Transwomen I know.”
Monica Roberts, of TransGriot, wrote that misidentifying Celine is not only disrespectful but could have delayed the investigation of the crime due to the conflicting information.
Celine’s death is the second reported killing of a trans person this week, with four having reported so far this year. Tonya Harvey was shot to death in Buffalo, New York, on Feb. 6.
Police ask that anyone with information about Celine Walker’s death contact the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at (904) 630-0500, or via email at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org, or contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at (866) 845-8477 (TIPS).