February 3, 2012 at 11:10 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Arraignment set for officer in trans shooting

In Nov. D.C. trans residents and their allies protest what they called bias on the part of Metropolitan Police. (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A D.C. Superior Court judge on Jan. 27 scheduled an arraignment in March for a D.C. police officer charged with firing his gun while off duty at three transgender women and two male friends while the five sat in a car on a city street last August.

Court observers say the decision to schedule an arraignment indicates negotiations between prosecutors and the attorney representing Officer Kenneth Furr over a plea bargain offer have been unsuccessful. Furr is now expected to be indicted by a grand jury within the next several weeks.

Police charged Furr, a 21-year veteran of the police force, with assault with a dangerous weapon. Superior Court Judge Ann O’Regan Keary ordered him held without bond pending trial at a Sept. 2 hearing after finding probable cause that Furr committed the offense.

A police arrest affidavit says Furr allegedly stood on the hood of a car where the victims were sitting and fired his service revolver through the front windshield, hitting two of the trans women and one of their male friends. All three suffered non-life threatening wounds, but authorities said the three could easily have been killed in the shooting.

The affidavit says the incident began when Furr allegedly solicited one of the trans women for sex at a nearby CVS drugstore and became angry when she refused the offer and her male friend intervened on her behalf. Furr later threatened the male friend with a gun when the two crossed paths outside the store, the affidavit says.

The male friend and the other victims followed Furr in their car as Furr drove away from the store, saying they wanted to get his license number and report him to police, the affidavit says. Furr allegedly stopped his car and pulled out his gun when he noticed the other car was following him, says the affidavit. The car driven by the male friend of the trans women then crashed into Furr’s car, prompting Furr to climb on the hood of that car and begin firing his gun at the people inside.

The incident outraged LGBT activists, who said it came at a time when transgender women had been victims of assaults and violent hate crimes in a number of previous incidents.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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