Here is the update on the tragic case of Rodney Whitaker aka "Ebony", the black transgender woman found murdered near an abandoned building in Memphis. As is often the case in the homicide of black transgender women, police announce they have no suspects, no leads, and no motive in the gunshot murder. Funeral services were held on Sunday and the distraught family of the victim is demanding justice.
"He's a human being," says Claudia Blair, the cousin of the deceased. "He deserves justice just like anybody else. He does."
ABC 24 reports Blair and the family "did not know until after Rodney was found shot to death behind a Southeast Memphis daycare on Tuesday, July 1, 2008, in a parking lot littered with used condoms, that he'd been turning tricks for money since he was 16. They also didn't know he was a transgender."
Money quote from Claudia Blair: "Maybe if he had more moral support from his family," says Claudia, "and a place to live and clothes and all that, a lot of the choices he made he might not have made. I would like to tell the person that did this crime, you will not get away with it. Justice will be served."
The ABC 24 report still uses some terms and phrases that will make some the trans community cringe, but, it's a helluva lot more sensitive than last week's hatchet job.
Activists are concerned the Memphis Police Department and Shelby County prosecutors will not fully investigate Whitaker death. A newly released surveillance tape shows on February 12, 2008 at least two Memphis police officers brutally assaulted another black trans woman, Duanna Johnson, while she was being held in the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center.
Some Background ...
Black Transgender Woman Murdered in Memphis [R20]
Vigil for Simmie Williams [R20]
Two FL Mothers United By Slain Black Gay Sons [R20]
Black Gay Teen Shot Dead in Fort Lauderdale [R20]
Rashawn Brazell: A Memorial [R20]
Six Months [R20]
Mother's Day Blues [R20]
News: "Person of Interest" Sought in Chicago [R20]
Rod 2.0 Exclusive: Personal Feud Led to Shootings [R20]
6 Gay Black Men Shot at Chicago Party [R20]
Crime Against the "Gay House" [R20]
Remembering the Chicago Victims [R20]
Shooting at Chicago House a "Tragedy" [Advocate]
Person of Interest Sought in Chgo Shootings [Advocate]
Crime Against the Gay House [Advocate-PDF]
Chicago Mother Suspects Gay Son Was Killed After Online Hookup [R20]