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The Young Trans Woman Beaten in a Viral Video Last Month Was Murdered over the Weekend

No immediate connections have been found between her death and the April assault

by Emma Ockerman
May 20 2019, 2:41pm

Muhlaysia Booker, the young transgender woman from Dallas who was brutally beaten by a gang of men in broad daylight last month, was shot and killed over the weekend, according to local police.

Booker was found dead, lying face-down in a street in Dallas, on Saturday morning. She was 23.

There weren’t any immediate connections between her death and the April assault that went viral, which resulted in one arrest, according to Dallas police. There are no lead suspects in her murder, either, and Assistant Dallas Police Chief Avery Moore told the Dallas Morning News that there wasn’t enough evidence yet to say whether her death could be considered a hate crime.

"We recognize that hate crimes, if you will, are a serious topic," Moore told the paper. "We at the Dallas Police Department take them serious."

Booker was the victim of a possible hate crime in April, when a group of men pushed her to the ground and started punching and kicking her as she lay curled up in a fetal position. A three-minute video of the parking-lot assault went viral, and she told police after the attack that her assailants shouted homophobic slurs. One man, Edward Thomas, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. He made bond and was released from jail, according to the Dallas Morning News, and police hadn’t yet determined whether the attack was a hate crime.

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder of Muhlaysia Booker. I call on anyone with information on this homicide to please contact the Dallas Police Department,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a tweet Sunday.

It’s unclear whether Booker was threatened any further before her death, but trans women of color like her have fallen victim to a disturbing, violent trend in cities across the country. Last year, at least 26 transgender people were killed in America, according to the Human Rights Watch. Booker is the fourth black transgender woman, at least, killed in 2019.

Just last week, Claire Legato, a transgender woman from Cleveland, died from the injuries she received during a shooting in April, according to the Human Rights Watch.

And around this time last year, another transgender woman from Dallas, Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón, was found dead in her apartment. She was choked to death.

Cover: Muhlaysia Booker's Facebook page