Lawmakers, LGBTQ+ activists call for trans woman’s killing to be prosecuted as hate crime
Lawmakers and the LGBTQ+ community are calling for a stop to anti-trans violence after a transgender woman was shot and killed in Minneapolis.
Last week, 38-year-old Savannah Ryan Williams was shot and killed in Minneapolis near Lake Street.
Back in February, another transgender woman was brutally beaten in the same area.
Family members of Williams, friends and lawmakers gathered Thursday morning to call for a stop to anti-trans violence.
“We are so sad she is gone and heartbroken,” a family member said at a Thursday news conference. “Savannah was outgoing, very outspoken and lit up every room she walked in.”
On Nov. 29, Minneapolis police responded to an early morning shots fired call near Fourth Avenue South and Lake Street.
Court documents said 25-year-old Damarean Kaylon Bible admitted to shooting Williams in the head.
Investigators said he told police she approached him for a sexual encounter and he began to feel “suspicious.” Then, after the act, he shot and killed her.
“Regardless of what we do to support ourselves in this world that is actively not built for us, that doesn’t mean that we should get murdered for it,” said Amber Muhm, trans community specialist. “We need to be able to walk down the street and be safe. We need to be able to exist in public and not constantly be afraid for our lives.”
Lawmakers with the Queer Legislative Caucus, allies and the LGBTQ+ community are calling the shooting a hate crime.
Based on FBI data, anti-trans violence is on the rise across Minnesota and the country.
“We will never stop fighting. Every single one of our siblings is loved by the people you see up here,” Rep. said Leigh Finke, DFL-St. Paul. “Savannah is a beloved member of our community and she should still be alive.”
Family members are hoping Williams’ death brings attention to an ongoing threat plaguing the trans community.
“The love, the laugh and the memories she gave will live on forever and ever,” a family member of victim said.
This case is still under investigation.
Hennepin County Attorney Mary Moriarty explained in a statement if the investigation reveals enough evidence to prove this was a hate crime, her office will prosecute accordingly.