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Group to Protest DA's Handling of Transgender Woman's Beating Death

By Trevor Kapp | November 18, 2013 6:22pm
 Islan Nettles, 21, was taken off life support days after she was beaten on Aug. 17, 2013.
Transgender Woman Fatally Beaten in Harlem
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WEST HARLEM — An anti-discrimination group is planning to protest prosecutors' delays in bringing hate charges against a man who was accused in the fatal beating of a transgender woman in Harlem this past August.

Members of Luz’s Daughter Cares, an action network focusing on ending violence and repression, are expected to gather outside Manhattan Criminal Court at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday to protest the fact that the Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance’s has yet to upgrade the charges against Paris Wilson, who was hit with misdemeanor assault in the Aug. 17 attack on Islan Nettles.

“Further failure to do so sends a message to the public, family and friends of slain transwoman Islan Nettles that trans’ lives do not hold the same value as heterosexual and other LGB persons in our society,” Luz’s Daughter Cares said in a statement.

The DA's office has said that the Hate Crimes Unite continues to investigate the case.

Wilson, 20, was among a group of men who allegedly directed homophobic slurs at Nettles, 21, and her friends as they walked on West 148th Street and Frederick Douglas Boulevard, police said. Wilson then bashed Nettles in the face and pummeled her while she lay on the ground, the NYPD added. Nettles died days after.

Wilson was charged with misdemeanor assault and freed on $2,000 bail, but another man later turned himself in and confessed to the crime at the urging of Wilson’s friends and relatives, DNAinfo’s On the Inside reported in September.

The second man, who was not charged and whose identity has not been released, “said he threw the punch, but could not provide anything else about what he did or did not do that night,” a law-enforcement source said at the time. The source added that the man was heavily intoxicated that evening.

Protesters say they want Vance and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly to investigate the officers who responded to the incident, saying they did not thoroughly probe the incident and did not sufficiently try to get additional surveillance of the crime scene.