Ms Johnson, I recall, was the subject of a horrific and brutal incident earlier in the summer, where she was beaten by police Officer Bridges McRae, who hit Ms Johnson in the face several times with his handcuffs (wrapped around his knuckles). During the attack, Ms Johnson was held down by the shoulders by another police man, Officer J. Swain. The whole thing was captured on a CCTV camera in the booking area of the Shelby County Criminal Justice Center, Memphis, Tennessee, where Ms Johnson had been taken after being arrested for prostitution – a charge which was subsequently dropped.
According to detectives, when officers arrived at the scene, they found the body lying in the street. Police say a witness heard gunfire and then saw three people running away from the scene. Investigators do not have any suspects at this time.
[Lawyer Murray Wells] says Johnson was trying to leave Memphis and go back to her hometown of Chicago. According to Murray, Jonson was just about homeless trying to live in Memphis. He says the apartment where Jonson was living did not have power. Murray says he was helping Johnson buy a bus ticket to Chicago.
Johnson was suing the city for $1.3 million.
I do find myself wondering where Officer McRae was on Sunday night; I’m sure he has a rock-solid alibi and was nowhere near the scene of Ms Johnson’s brutal murder.
ETA, 13 November: Renee Martin has also blogged about this over at Global Comment, and has received this response in the comments:
THADDEUS MATTHEWS Says:
November 13th, 2008 at 9:30 am
I am a local radio talk show host in memphis who has been following this case. I received a call early Monday morning on my cell about 5;45 I didn’t answer the phone but a message was left where a person was whispering stating that Duanna Johnson was dead and that Memphis police were going to state that 3 black men shot her.
What I find strange is that the person knew the ID before Duanna’s name was released. It is my belief that Duanna was the victim of a hit by police. The are that Duanna was killed was on the street where she lived where she would not have been working since all in the area knew what her real gender happen to be.
something is wrong with this case which homicide is not working hard to solve.
Assuming this is not a troll, and is genuine, then it needs national attention, and soon.
Previous, related posts on this blog:
- If at first you don’t succeed…? (July 28, 2008)
- Race, gender identity, the justice system and the beating of Duanna Johnson (June 27, 2008)
- Transphobic violence: the video (June 20, 2008)