Now that TransLatina advocate Naiymah A. Sanchez has accepted an appointment to the Philadelphia Police Advisory Commission(PAC) will we finally find out who murdered Nizah Morris?
With Mayor Kenney’s reconstituting what was seen as an ineffectual PAC and appointment of Sanchez who’s passionate advocacy with the ACLU proceeds her we have a real opportunity to learn what happened to Morris that cold December morning.
Most significantly affecting the chance for closure was the conviction of former DA Seth Williams on corruption charges. Williams had accused Planet Transgender in a tweet of lying about his office’s role in the decades long battle for the release of unredacted police records.to a commission unhindered by mandatory nondisclosure agreements.
— Seth Williams (@DASethWilliams) February 2, 2014
What we know:
Two days after a courtesy ride by Philadelphia police on December 22, 2002, transgender woman Nizah Morris died at a Philadelphia hospital of a subdural hematoma, the result traumatic blows to her head. Police rejected the corners finding that the cause of death was a homicide and then “lost” it for 8 years. Her family sued believing police murdered her and have received a $250,000 dollar settlement in civil court where it is easier to fix blame, but her murder remains unsolved today.
We demand justice for Nizah Morris and Sanchez an ACLU volunteer is well positioned to make that happen.
The 13-member commission was without a trans commissioner for more than a decade, after the departure of trans woman Kathleen R. Padilla.
“I am privileged to be selected by the mayor to be a PAC commissioner,” Sanchez told Philadelphia Gay News. “It is an honor not just for myself and my family but for the community to have a Latina trans woman on the commission — to make sure all of our voices are heard.”
Sanchez, a North Philadelphia resident, expressed a desire for improved police-community relations.
“A lot of communities don’t feel safe with the police,” she noted. “That’s to be understood. I’m hoping to improve that relationship. Being a minority, I feel that I bring an important perspective to the table — not only the perspective of the LGBTQ community but the Latina community.”
Sanchez also said she’ll try to help with transparency in the Nizah Morris case. Morris was a trans woman found with a fatal head wound in 2002, shortly after a police “courtesy ride.”
“I will raise my voice and see what we can do,” Sanchez said. “That’s true with any police-involved incidents and shootings.”