Graphic testimony in the federal trial of former Memphis Police Officer Bridges McRae, charged with violating the civil rights of transgender woman Duanna Johnson in a February 2008 beating captured on video surveillance. Johnson was later killed in an unrelated shooting.
A former officer testifies the videotaped altercation was a "beatdown", reports the Commercial Appeal.
"Testifying for the prosecution, James Swain said he watched officer Bridges McRae use his metal handcuffs like brass knuckles to punch the prisoner several times in the head in the sally port of the jail. Swain said the incident began when the prisoner, Dwayne Johnson, refused to be fingerprinted unless McRae called him by his feminine name, Duanna. 'McRae kept hitting Johnson multiple times in the head,' said Swain, a probationary officer released by the department. 'Johnson was bleeding profusely from the head. It was a beatdown. It never should have happened. ... (McRae) walked by and said "I love to fight." He was very aggressive and had his chest puffed out. I was speechless.'
Jurors heard a play-by-play from a jailer, reports WREG.
"The jailer said after the altercation, Johnson was bleeding from the
forehead. She demonstrated how McRae used handcuffs as a weapon to hit
Johnson in the face.
The jailer said Johnson wasn't cooperating with the officer and was refusing to be finger printed because McRae would not call her by the female name, Duana. She said Duana waved her arms but did not strike back."
Johnson's mother, Hazel Skinner, was in the courtroom and was outraged by the testimony: "I hope justice will be prevailed because that was uncalled for. You don't treat a human being like that not because he didn't stand up and answer to a name that's not his name."
After an FBI investigation, Bridges McRae was indicted on civil rights violations and fired from the Memphis Police Department. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
On November 9 2008, Duanna Johnson was found shot to death. Three men were seen running from the murder scene and were never found. The vast majority of murders of black and Latina transgender women are unsolved. Johnson's case, sadly, is no exception