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National
Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion
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Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

Joshua Brown, key witness in Amber Guyger trial, shot and killed

Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

There remained few answers but much speculation Monday morning following the weekend killing of Joshua Xavier Brown, a key witness in the murder trial of former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger.

Brown, 28, was gunned down Friday night outside the Atera Apartments, about 5 miles from the South Side Flats, where he and 26-year-old Botham Jean lived Sept. 6, 2018, when Guyger, an off-duty officer still in uniform, killed Jean after she said she mistakenly went into his apartment instead of her own.

Guyger, 31, who testified she thought Jean was an intruder, was convicted of murder last week and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Botham Jean Foundation
Botham Jean, 26, is pictured in an undated photo from the Botham Jean Foundation, which was created after his September 2018 death at the hands of Amber Guyger, a neighbor and off-duty Dallas police officer. Guyger has been convicted of murder.
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Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

Photo Credit: Botham Jean Foundation
Botham Jean, 26, is pictured in an undated photo from the Botham Jean Foundation, which was created after his September 2018 death at the hands of Amber Guyger, a neighbor and off-duty Dallas police officer. Guyger has been convicted of murder.

>> Related story: Jury sentences former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger to 10 years in prison

Brown’s killing is the latest development in a sensational case that garnered national attention. Activists saw Jean’s killing as another in a long line of deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers.

Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney representing Jean’s family, said Saturday that Brown’s killing “underscores the reality of the black experience in America.”

“A former athlete turned entrepreneur, Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state-sanctioned or otherwise,” Merritt said.

>> Read more trending news 

A visibly shaken Brown testified just 10 days before his death about the night Jean died. The Dallas Morning News reported that the timing of Brown’s slaying has raised questions about whether his death is connected to his testimony in Guyger’s trial.

Many people on social media speculated that one or more Dallas police officers may have killed Brown as retribution for his testimony.

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund issued a statement demanding an investigation into the homicide -- independent of the Dallas Police Department.

“The murder of Botham Jean has raised troubling concerns from the beginning of the investigation, and now, the deeply alarming and highly suspicious murder of Joshua Brown increases the urgency of an immediate, independent investigation of every aspect of these two tragic killings,” the organization's statement read.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson urged people to remain calm Sunday in a statement on Twitter.

“I trust the Dallas Police Department will conduct a thorough investigation into the death of Joshua Brown,” Johnson tweeted. “Until we know more about this incident, I encourage everyone to refrain from speculation.

“If you have information about this case, please share it with our police investigators so they can ensure that justice is done. Dallas will never be a city that tolerates acts of violence such as this.”

Johnson shared a link to North Texas Crime Stoppers, through which tipsters can share information online. Anyone with information can also call 1-877-373-TIPS (8477).

Social activist Shaun King, who described Brown’s slaying as an execution, tweeted that Bill Perkins, an author and public speaker, is offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people who killed Brown.

“Every murder is sad,” Perkins wrote on his own Twitter account. “The particulars around this specific set of circumstances make it important that everyone learn why this happened irrespective of the outcome.

“Either way, a killer needs to be caught and I wish in every case these resources could be brought to bear for justice.”

Dallas police Chief U. Renee Hall said Sunday that investigators had not yet determined a motive or developed any suspects in Brown’s killing.

“We are committed to solving this case and will work diligently to apprehend the individuals responsible for Brown’s death,” Hall said.

According to police, officers responded around 10:37 p.m. Friday to the Atera Apartments, located on Cedar Springs Road. They were flagged down by several witnesses, who pointed them to where Brown lay dying of multiple gunshot wounds to the lower torso. He was taken to Parkland Hospital, where he died.

Witnesses reported seeing a silver, four-door sedan speeding out of the parking lot immediately after the shooting, authorities said.

Google
Pictured in an April 2019 Street View image are the Atera Apartments, where Joshua Brown, 28, was shot and killed Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Brown was a key witness in the trial of ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger, who killed Botham Jean last fall.
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Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

Photo Credit: Google
Pictured in an April 2019 Street View image are the Atera Apartments, where Joshua Brown, 28, was shot and killed Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. Brown was a key witness in the trial of ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger, who killed Botham Jean last fall.

>> Related story: Botham Jean neighbor, key witness at Amber Guyger trial, fatally shot outside apartment

Word almost immediately emerged that Brown had been shot through the mouth -- which some speculated on social media was symbolic payback for his testimony.

Merritt was one of the people who stated Brown was shot in the mouth.

“Joshua Brown was shot in his mouth and chest,” Merritt tweeted Saturday. “He was exiting his car at his (apartment) when he was ambushed and shot at close range.

“His mother asked my office to help find out who murdered her son. She suspects foul play. He had no known enemies. He worked for a living. We need answers.”

Merritt later tweeted that there was uncertainty as to where on his body Brown was shot. 

Actor and self-described “king of the internet” George Takei also tweeted that Brown had been shot in the mouth, saying “speaking the truth to power is a heroic thing. Just ask Joshua Brown.”

“The truth can be life or death,” Takei wrote.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who heads the county commission, went on Twitter Sunday to dispel those rumors.

“Mr. Brown was not shot in the mouth or head, but was shot more than one time,” Jenkins tweeted Sunday.

Brown, wearing shorts and a “Dragon Ball Z” T-shirt, testified Sept. 24 about what he saw and heard the night Jean died.

According to video of the trial, which was streamed live by Court TV and other media outlets, Brown testified that he met Jean for the first time earlier on the day of Jean’s death when a representative of the complex’s leasing office knocked on both men’s doors.

Brown testified that the representative claimed there had been a noise complaint, but he believed the visit was really about the smell of marijuana coming from the men’s apartments. He said he and Jean had both been smoking that afternoon.

Watch Joshua Brown testify in the Amber Guyger trial below, courtesy of the Law & Crime Trial Network. 

Brown said he and Jean had a brief conversation, then went back into their apartments, which were across the hall from each other.

Brown testified that he was returning home from a sports bar later that night when, from the hallway, he heard Guyger go into Jean’s apartment. He described hearing what sounded like “two people meeting each other in surprise,” then two gunshots.

Brown testified he could not understand what Guyger and Jean said to one another because he heard “two voices mixing together at the same time, so I couldn’t make out what either one of them was saying.”

Brown said he did not hear Guyger give Jean any commands before the gunshots rang out.

>> Related story: Dallas jury rejects 'castle doctrine' defense, finds ex-cop Amber Guyger guilty of murder

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Former Dallas cop Amber Guyger weeps on the stand during her murder trial in the September 2018 killing of her neighbor, Botham Jean. Guyger, 31, was convicted and sentenced Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, to 10 years in prison.
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Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

Photo Credit: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Former Dallas cop Amber Guyger weeps on the stand during her murder trial in the September 2018 killing of her neighbor, Botham Jean. Guyger, 31, was convicted and sentenced Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors used Brown’s testimony to bolster their claims that Guyger lied when she testified that she shouted, “Let me see your hands! Let me see your hands!” at Jean before shooting him.

Brown said he ran back toward the parking garage in alarm and, after determining no one was near his apartment, went home to check on his dog.

After a few moments, he saw Guyger come out of Jean’s apartment, talking on her cellphone. He said she paced back and forth in the hallway.

“She was crying, explaining what happened, what she thought happened, saying she came into the wrong apartment,” Brown said. “That was about it.”

Video footage shot by another neighbor at South Side Flats appeared to show Guyger pacing and talking on her cellphone. It also showed first responders performing CPR on Jean as he was wheeled out of the apartment and toward a waiting ambulance.

Brown became emotional as he testified that he could often hear activity in Jean’s apartment from the hallway outside his own door. He wept on the stand as he described hearing Jean, a St. Lucia native and avid singer who worked as an accountant, singing Gospel music and Drake songs in his apartment every day.

“I heard him singing every morning,” Brown said.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Joshua Brown, a neighbor of murder victim Botham Jean, is overcome with emotion Sept. 24, 2019, as he testifies at the trial of ex-Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. Brown, 28, was shot and killed outside his apartment Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.
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Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

Photo Credit: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Joshua Brown, a neighbor of murder victim Botham Jean, is overcome with emotion Sept. 24, 2019, as he testifies at the trial of ex-Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. Brown, 28, was shot and killed outside his apartment Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

Brown bent his head, wiping tears with his T-shirt, before he was handed a box of tissues by the prosecutor, who told him to take his time and that there was no rush.

“Yeah, we need a moment,” Brown said.

Prosecutors at Guyger’s trial argued that there were multiple visual clues that should have warned the patrol officer she was on the fourth floor instead of the third floor, where her apartment was located directly below Jean’s. The apartment numbers were displayed in lighted signs and Jean had a bright red door mat, while Guyger had no mat.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Prosecutor Jason Hermus shows jurors Botham Jean's red doormat Sept. 30, 2019, during closing arguments in the murder trial of ex-Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. Guyger, 31, was convicted of killing Jean, her neighbor, on Sept. 6, 2018.
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Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

Photo Credit: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Prosecutor Jason Hermus shows jurors Botham Jean's red doormat Sept. 30, 2019, during closing arguments in the murder trial of ex-Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. Guyger, 31, was convicted of killing Jean, her neighbor, on Sept. 6, 2018.

A large decorative planter outside a neighbor’s door on the third floor would also have been missing as Guyger walked past the same spot toward Jean’s fourth-floor apartment.

At least one officer who responded to Jean’s apartment after the shooting testified that he immediately smelled the odor of marijuana, which prosecutors argued should also have informed Guyger she was at the wrong apartment.

Brown testified that, like dozens of other residents interviewed by Guyger’s defense attorneys, he had also gone to the wrong floor more than once when he first moved into the South Side Flats. He said when he accidentally went to the third floor, the decorative vase is what warned him he was on the wrong floor.

Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Amber Guyger is pictured during her trial in the September 2018 killing of her upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean, who she shot after going to the wrong apartment by mistake. Guyger was convicted of murder Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.
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Killing of key witness days after Amber Guyger murder trial draws deep suspicion

Photo Credit: Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP
Amber Guyger is pictured during her trial in the September 2018 killing of her upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean, who she shot after going to the wrong apartment by mistake. Guyger was convicted of murder Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019.

Jason Hermus, the lead Dallas County prosecutor in Guyger’s case, praised Brown following his death.

“He bravely came forward to testify when others wouldn’t,” Hermus told the News. “If we had more people like him, we would have a better world.”

Merritt told CNN that Brown was a reluctant witness because of all the attention that came with being part of a high-profile murder case. The attorney said there had been online comments calling Brown a “snitch” for cooperating with prosecutors.

“He did not want to testify in that trial. He made it clear he had no interest in testifying in open court in that trial,” Merritt told the network. “(Brown’s mother) knows that her son was really bothered by the fact that he was given a lot of exposure from the trial, a lot of unwanted attention.”

Merritt tweeted shortly after Brown's death that he’d spoken with the man's mother.

“She is devastated. We all are,” Merritt wrote. “Joshua Brown was key witness in the murder of Botham Jean that helped put Amber Guyger away. We need answers.”

Jenkins also tweeted that he shared “the community’s profound sense of shock and anger over this evil murder.”

“Our law enforcement agencies will find and arrest the person(s) who did this and our @DallasCountyTx criminal justice system will vigorously prosecute them,” Jenkins wrote.

Jenkins reiterated Sunday that authorities would “work to ensure a transparent and thorough investigation of the murder of Joshua Brown.” He asked the public to give investigators time to work on the case.

Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the Legal Defense Fund, wrote that the circumstances of Brown’s death “cries out for answers” and calls for an independent investigation.

“We urge state or federal authorities to follow the trail of misconduct left by this case and fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr. Brown’s death,” Ifill wrote in a statement. “It is critical to public confidence in the administration of justice that witnesses who speak out against police violence are fully protected. The suspicious circumstances of Mr. Brown’s killing should cause great alarm and demand an immediate and piercing inquiry.

“We echo Allison Jean’s statement that the ‘corruption we saw during this process must stop,’ and support her request for a comprehensive federal investigation of the Dallas Police Department.”

Allison Jean, Botham Jean’s mother, said after Guyger’s conviction that either a lack of proper police training or poor use of training led to her son’s murder.

“The poor training, or the poor use of what should have been training, is what we see coming out of this case,” Jean said. “If this was applied in the way that it ought to have been taught, my son would have been alive today.”

She also called out corruption and alleged tampering with evidence that came out during the trial. Guyger's former partner, and lover, Senior Cpl. Martin Rivera, is accused of deleting texts, including sexually explicit ones, between him and Guyger following the shooting. 

Hall, the police chief, announced Wednesday that internal investigations had begun into officers’ actions immediately following Botham Jean’s death, including allegations of tampering with in-car video cameras, the failure to render aid as Jean lay dying on his living room floor and “multiple other things” that came out during the trial.

>> Related story: Amber Guyger trial prompts probe into Dallas PD, ethics complaint against judge

Brown, a native of Jacksonville, Florida, lived in Texas since 2008. He attended the University of South Florida, where he played football and majored in interdisciplinary social science, he testified at Guyger’s trial.

According to his bio on the USF football website, Brown has four sisters and three brothers.

A GoFundMe page set up by Shanteya Victor, who describes herself as Brown's ex-girlfriend and mother of his 11-month-old son, states that Brown also leaves behind two additional children. 

The university released a statement on Brown’s death, which was obtained by WFAA in Dallas.

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Joshua Brown in Dallas, Texas,” the statement read. “Joshua was a much loved and valued member of our football program and athletic family, and his loss is felt by many whose lives he positively touched. Our hearts go out to Joshua’s family, friends and loved-ones during this very difficult time.”

Brown’s death also garnered the attention of politicians on the national level, including multiple Democratic presidential candidates. There did not appear to be an immediate response from President Donald Trump, who is running for reelection. 

“I’m heartsick for Joshua Brown’s family and friends,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren wrote Sunday on Twitter. “He bravely stepped forward and testified to bring some justice for Botham Jean, and peace for his family. We need answers -- and Joshua Brown and his family need justice.”

Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, expressed condolences to Brown’s loved ones.

“When Botham Jean was killed in his own home, his neighbor, Joshua Brown, spoke out and ensured his murderer was held accountable,” O’Rourke tweeted. “His death, like Botham’s, was a tragedy -- only possible because we have failed to end this epidemic of gun violence. Sending love to his family.”

Julian Castro, also of Texas, wrote that Brown “bravely stood up to injustice and helped put Amber Guyger behind bars.”

“We grieve with his family and friends, and demand a transparent investigation the people of Dallas can trust,” Castro said.

Castro’s sentiments were echoed by U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who is also running for president.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also wrote that authorities must get to the bottom of Brown’s death.

“Just when we caught a glimpse of justice for Botham Jean, much of it feels stolen back with the murder of Joshua Brown, a key witness in the case,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “My heart breaks for his family and for everyone touched by this tragedy.”

Read More

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Hill, who was black, was killed the day before jury selection was set to begin in Dallas for Edward Dominic Thomas, 29, who is accused of beating another black, transgender woman, Muhlaysia Booker, in April following a fender bender outside an apartment complex in the Oak Cliff section of the city. Booker, whose beating was caught on video, spoke publicly at a rally the week after the assault to call for justice in her case, the AP reported. The 23-year-old was found shot to death May 18 on a Dallas street. Kendrell Lavar Lyles, 33, is charged with murder in the killing and is a suspect in the homicides of two additional women. >> Related story: Suspect arrested in death of transgender Dallas woman and 2 others, police say The Dallas Morning News reported Wednesday that Thomas’ defense is arguing that Booker, who his attorneys call by her birth name and describe with male pronouns, brought the fight upon herself. Transgender actress and activist Laverne Cox spoke to Buzzfeed earlier this year about the rash of violence against the transgender community. “Your attraction to me as a trans woman is not a reason to kill me,” Cox said in an interview on BuzzFeed News’ Twitter morning show, “AM to DM.” “There’s this whole sort of myth that trans women are out there tricking people, that they deserve to be murdered, and that’s not the case.” Berryman, who also went by Ja’leyah-Jamar Berryman, was killed last month just across the Missouri state line in Kansas City, Kansas. Though area activists initially identified Berryman as a transgender woman, Berryman’s family released a video on social media clarifying that he identified as a gender nonconforming man. Berryman was found shot in the street around 2:30 p.m. Sept. 13 near 60th Street and Leavenworth Road, according to the Kansas City (Kansas) Police Department. Berryman died a short time later at an area hospital. Two days later, investigators released images of a person of interest and a white 2006 Pontiac G6 connected to the case. KMBC reported that the car was found abandoned in Kansas City, Missouri, three days after Berryman was slain. The person of interest, believed to be an ex-boyfriend of Berryman’s, has not been identified by police, the Advocate said. No arrests have been reported in Berryman’s death. Berryman’s cousin posted about his death on Facebook. “Ja’leyah-Jamar didn’t ask for this life,” Adriana Sanders wrote, according to the magazine. “No one can control who they love. God made us to live and love and to grow. It’s not our fault as a transgender woman or a homosexual man to want to live a normal life, wanting to be in love have a family, build your own legacy. “Because a man could not accept who he was as himself and individual, he felt the need to take my cousin’s life.” Berryman’s obituary said he “loved the artistry of designing hair, playing his game, playing with his nieces and nephews, nagging his siblings and spending quality time with his daughter, Ja’mya (Berryman).” Ja’mya was 5 years old when she lost her parent, KSHB in Kansas City reported. “She keeps, like (saying), ‘I want my daddy, where my daddy at?’ And it’s just, like, how do you answer that question to a 5-year-old?' Ronnie Gates, a friend and former longtime boyfriend of Berryman’s, told the news station. Berryman’s mother, along with other family members and friends, mourned Berryman by releasing red and black balloons in his honor three days after his killing. They gathered at the intersection where he was found. His young daughter was pictured sitting quietly on the sidewalk, wearing a backpack and gazing at the balloons near the curb. “That’s Jamar’s baby. She is now without a father,” a family member captioned the photo. “I’ll never be the same,” Berryman’s mother, Jennifer Gibson, told KSHB. “I’ll never be the same.” The Human Rights Campaign, which touts itself as the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, issued a statement following Berryman’s slaying. “This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets trans people of color -- particularly black trans women -- must cease,” read a post on the organization’s Twitter feed. Likewise, HRC officials spoke out this week about Hill’s killing. “Hill, like all of us, had hopes, dreams, aspirations and plans for the future,” HRC spokesperson Elliott Kozuch told Newsweek. “She had family and friends who are mourning this senseless loss, a loss that is part of a larger epidemic of violence against the transgender community in this country, spurred by a toxic mix of transphobia, racism, misogyny and unchecked gun violence.” Kozuch said while the transgender community has protections in employment, housing and public accommodations in Kansas City, there are no state nondiscrimination protections for the marginalized community. Transgender people are also not among the groups covered by Missouri’s hate crimes legislation. According to HRC data, all but five states across the country have laws addressing hate crimes, but the laws vary greatly in who they protect. Fifteen states do not address sexual orientation or gender identity in their hate crime laws, the HRC shows. See the Human Rights Campaign's map of hate crime laws in the U.S. below. Members of the LGBTQ community mourned Hill’s death on social media. “Rest in power, beloved,” one woman wrote on Facebook, adding a broken heart emoji. “Brianna Hill. #SayHerName.” Transgender actress, singer, teacher and activist Alexandra Billings also spoke out about Hill and every other transgender woman who has been killed or faces violence for who they are. “My sisters, I see you,” Billings wrote on Facebook. “I am with you because I am one of you, and we will survive this. Our government will not continue to ignore us, and our allies will speak up. We will revolt and we will rise. We are made of sturdy stuff. We have lived through the centuries and it will take more than a few violent men to eradicate us from the human experience. “We are part of this world and we deserve to be here. We will not let this stand.” Besides the death of Berryman, Hill’s slaying in Kansas City also comes on the heels of the June 25 killing of Brooklyn Lindsey, 32, who was found dead on the porch of an abandoned home on Spruce Avenue, court records show. She died of multiple gunshot wounds. Neighbors, who didn’t identify themselves out of fear of retaliation, told KCTV Lindsey had been badly beaten before they heard the gunshots that killed her. According to court records, investigators recovered five shell casings from around Lindsey’s body and tested the casings for DNA evidence. A profile was obtained and entered into CODIS, the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System, which matched the genetic material to Marcus S. Lewis. Investigators learned that Lewis was in a relationship with the owner of a black Chevy Impala. The car was spotted by license plate readers driving in the area of the shooting around the time that the Kansas City Police Department received a report of shots fired about four blocks from where Lindsey’s body was found. Read the probable cause statement in the Brooklyn Lindsey slaying below. Charging Document in Brooklyn Lindsey Homicide by National Content Desk on Scribd Lewis, 41, was arrested in July and indicted last month on charges of second-degree murder, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm, court records show. Court records, which identify Lindsey as male and by her given name instead of her chosen one, show that Lewis told detectives he shot Lindsey after she propositioned him, “attempting to solicit a date,” and would not leave him alone after he declined her advances. He said he sold the gun, which he had bought earlier in the day, to an unknown person after the homicide. “l believe that Marcus Lewis poses a danger to the community or to any other persons because he is a habitual unregistered sex offender,” Detective Ryan Taylor wrote in a probable cause statement. “He is under investigation for aggravated domestic violence involving a firearm and an armed business robbery involving a firearm.” Court records indicate Lewis has also been indicted in that case. He remained in the Jackson County Jail Friday, awaiting trial. The unlawful firearm possession charge stems from Lewis’ April 1998 conviction of first-degree statutory rape, a felony in Missouri. As a convicted felon, he is not permitted to have a firearm. Lindsey was described by friends as an activist who worked with organizations like the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project. The organization spoke out last month after Berryman’s death. “As we hold space to remember and uplift Ja’Leyah, we must also recognize the factors at play that contribute to the dramatically increased risk of violence that trans women of color, especially black trans women, face every day,” a post on the group’s Facebook page read. “Restrictions on basic needs and services like housing, employment, safe streets, healthcare and protection under the law are just some barriers that put our sisters in harm’s way daily. “The discriminatory and violent systems that perpetuate violence against transgender women of color are a direct result of bias from within and outside our own communities. Ja’leyah’s light shone to a select few, but we will let her light shine on all of us today.” Kris Wade, with the Justice Project Kansas City, told CNN she knew Lindsey well and had helped her for more than a decade. She described Lindsey as a “sweetheart,” and an intelligent woman who did not come from the streets, but sometimes ended up there. “She felt that she had not lost her humanity out there,” Wade told CNN. Wade said Lindsey, who had been brutally beaten and hospitalized just weeks before her death, needed to get off the street, but Justice Project was unable to find her a bed. “We didn’t have any money to put her up,” Wade said. Lindsey died at the same intersection where a Hispanic transgender woman, Tamara Dominguez, 36, was run over and killed Aug. 15, 2015. The driver of the truck, Luis Sanchez, ran over Dominguez repeatedly, according to witnesses. Members of the LGBTQ community condemned the “atrocious” act in the days after Dominguez’s death. “There’s this horrible dark underbelly of hatred that goes on and on and on and on and it must stop,” Caroline Gibbs, director of the Transgender Institute of Kansas City, told KCTV at the time. Dominguez’s brother, Alberto Dominguez, spoke to the news station through a friend, Juan Rendon, who translated his Spanish to English. “He just want to say to the person that did that to her, that he (Alberto) would forgive them for what he did to her,” Rendon translated as Dominguez started to cry, the news station reported. “We are not here to judge nobody, and he (Alberto) hopes that person really feels bad for what he did.” Sanchez, who was initially charged with murder, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in December 2018 and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Now 31, he is serving his sentence at the Jefferson City Correctional Center, according to the Missouri Department of Corrections. Tamara Dominguez was loved, her brother told KCTV. “He doesn’t know she has family. She had her mom. She had her nephews, brothers and sisters. That person didn’t think about what he did,” Rendon translated.
  • President Donald Trump said in a tweet Friday that he will nominate Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to replace Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy. >> Read more trending news 'Dan’s experience in the sector is unparalleled. A total professional,' the president tweeted,.'I have no doubt that Dan will do a great job!
  • What was once a potential tropical cyclone has now become Tropical Storm Nestor. According to the 1 pm advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Nestor was located over the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, Nestor is moving toward the northeast near 22 mph and is expected to continue that way through Sunday, followed by a turn toward the east-northeast by early Monday. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher wind gusts that are expected to strengthen today. This storm will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded with water rising inland from the shoreline.  Also, due to the wind, any outside preparations may get difficult or dangerous to do. We can also expected up to 4 inches of rain this weekend across Central Florida to the eastern Carolinas, as well as one or two tornadoes near the Florida Gulf Coast from the central Panhandle to western parts of the Florida peninsula.

Washington Insider

  • A day after remarks by the acting White House Chief of Staff forced officials to scramble and walk back his statement that the U.S. did engage in a quid pro quo to get Ukraine to investigate a GOP election conspiracy theory, President Donald Trump had little to say about the situation on Friday, as some cracks in his support began to appear in GOP circles on Capitol Hill. Asked about the Thursday briefing by Mick Mulvaney, the President offered up only five words for reporters, before immediately moving on to other topics. 'I think he clarified it,' Mr. Trump said of Mulvaney, who basically confirmed the story of an intelligence community whistleblower, by acknowledging that military aid to Ukraine was held back, as the U.S. pressed Ukraine to investigate evidence-free claims that a Democratic Party computer server had been hidden in Ukraine by a U.S. internet security firm. “That's why we held up the money,” Mulvaney said in the White House Briefing Room. Mulvaney later accused the press of deliberately mischaracterizing his words. Even with his later walk back, Mulvaney's confirmation that military aid to Ukraine had been delayed on purpose - along with the plan for the President to host the G7 Summit at his own golf resort in Florida - was too much for some Republicans. On conservative talk radio, Mulvaney was blistered as well. 'I don't even think he knows what he's talking about,' Sean Hannity said on his Friday radio program. 'I just think he's dumb.' Meanwhile Democrats said Mulvaney had confirmed why there needed to be an investigation. “This is about the president systematically abusing the power and resources of his office,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).