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HRC, ACLU confirm killing of trans woman, a detail Jackson police have yet to release

Updated: Feb. 2, 2021 at 10:15 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - One of Jackson’s thirteen homicides alarms members of the city’s LGBTQ community, in part because Jackson police still haven’t released information on the victim’s gender identity to the public more than a week after the shooting.

“Dominique’s life has been extinguished and her friends are devastated. Her family are devastated. And so many of Dominique’s friends are trans, Black women who are fearing for their lives, even more so than they were before,” Human Rights Campaign State Director Rob Hill said. “But I do hope that this helps people to see that this is a real problem.”

Last year, 44 transgender people across America were killed, according to data collected by the HRC, the highest number in at least seven years.

Dominique Jackson, a Black transgender woman, will be added to that list this year. Jackson was shot and killed January 25 on Rose Street near Grand Avenue.

Eight days later, police have yet to release her current name or gender, instead tweeting the name on her driver’s license: Dedontae Jackson.

JPD posted the update on social media almost two hours after WLBT informed the department that their information indicating an “adult male” had been killed was incorrect.

3 On Your Side gave JPD spokesperson Sam Brown the victim’s transgender name and preferred gender identity, citing sources within the LGBTQ community and Hill. It’s unclear whether that information has been utilized by the department.

“It’s critical that law enforcement does everything that they can to be able to make sure that, that they have all of the aspects of a crime, especially if we suspect it is bias motivated,” Hill said. “We still lack a lot of information around this case.”

Hill believes more training is needed so details like a victim’s gender identity don’t slip through the cracks again.

If JPD’s investigation reveals Jackson was targeted specifically because she was transgender, making her killing a hate crime, Hill said prosecution would be more difficult because Mississippi’s hate crime law does not include protections for sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

Brown told WLBT in an emailed statement that at this stage of the investigation, “there is no evidence to suggest that the killing was a hate crime.”

“Dominique was a legitimate victim. She was a legitimate victim on three different points, actually. She is first of all Black. She is a woman and she’s transgender. She has three targets on her back,” said ACLU of Mississippi spokesperson Candace Coleman.

Coleman said House Bill 353, a bipartisan bill, would have given those protections to those neglected groups but didn’t make it out of committee.

Hill said they’ve been trying to get the bill expanded for the last four legislative sessions, but those bills died each time.

“It’s common sense. And it really it wouldn’t hurt anybody. This isn’t a bill that would hurt someone else,” Coleman said. “There are so many things that we could be doing at the Capitol to help Mississippians of all types, but we’re continuing to do things that will harm them.”

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