Why Tony McDade murdered by police may never get justice

Tony McDade

As we remember Tony McDade, the 23rd murder during the 2020 TDoR events, let us also remember that if the Tallahassee police have their way McDade will never get justice.

Tony McDade, a black trans man was shot and killed in an apparent attempt to end his life. McDade a twice-convicted felon had been beaten by five men took revenge by killing one of them. To avoid going back to prison Tony committed what is known as “suicide by cop.”

This is all well documented.

We still don’t know the name of the officer who shot McDade or what happened just before he was killed.
One witness says that a man jumped out of his car and shot him without identifying himself as law enforcement.
Crucially, we don’t know if the officer who shot McDade was prone to preemptive violence or if he had ever been indicted for murder.  The Tallahassee Police Department is keeping that information from the public using a hijacked version of a victim’s rights law.

Cops who kill in Florida and North Dakota can now keep their names from the public with “Marsy’s Law”.  All that  Florida and North Dakota GOP needed to do to protect their killer cops was the deletion of a couple of words.

And according to Pro Publica, the law has increasingly been co-opted by police nationwide. It got on Florida’s ballot in 2018 after being introduced by a sheriff and revised with the help of two statewide law enforcement associations. Officers say it allows them to claim victim status in use-of-force cases where they say the suspect was the aggressor.

A Tallahassee police officer brought the problems with Marsy’s Law to light in May when he claimed victimhood status after fatally shooting Tony McDade, a Black transgender man who allegedly stabbed a neighbor’s son to death before pointing a gun at the officer.

Tallahassee police Chief Lawrence Revell didn’t release the names of the officers involved, prompting protests outside the police station and in the streets. Days later, the Florida Police Benevolent Association sued the city to make sure it wouldn’t change course. The police union’s lawsuit cited the growing anger over police violence as a reason to hide their names.

“His fear for his safety is reasonable, especially given the current unrest that has followed in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis,” the union said in court filings.

The identities of officers who’ve used violence against civilians is vital information that the public has a right to know, said Barbara Petersen, the former head of Florida’s First Amendment Foundation. Had the Minneapolis Police Department withheld the identity of Derek Chauvin, the officer charged with killing Floyd, the public may not have learned of his extensive history of using excessive force, Petersen said.

The notion that a law enforcement officer responding to a call could be considered a crime victim, she said, is “mind-boggling. … How are we supposed to know if they’ve acted appropriately? How do we know they haven’t done this before?”

In light of this we ask you to join the millions who have signed the petition demanding Justice for Tony McDade and to remember him on November 20 as a victim of police violence who may never get justice.

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender


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