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Police identify trans woman fatally stabbed at D.C. bus stop

Homicide branch releases video of suspect

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Deoni Jones, gay news, gay politics dc

In an effort to speed the investigation, several trans activists in DC shared this photo of Deoni Jones yesterday before police made a positive identification using fingerprints. (Screenshot via Facebook)

D.C. police late Friday identified a transgender woman found suffering from a fatal stab wound at a bus stop in Northeast Washington Thursday night as 23-year-old Deoni Jones, whose birth name was identified as JaParker Jones.

Homicide Branch Lt. Robert Adler, who is leading the investigation into Jones’ death, said police have also released a video of a man considered a suspect in the murder. He said the video can be viewed on YouTube.

“We’re hoping someone from the public will recognize the person in the video and tell us who it is,” Adler told the Blade in an interview at the Homicide Branch headquarters in Southwest D.C.

Adler said Jones’ family members told investigators that Jones also had been known by the first name Logan.

Police issued a statement early Friday afternoon saying a citizen flagged down a Metro transit police officer about 8:15 p.m. Thursday to report an assault at a bus stop on the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, N.E.

“Upon arrival, the officer located a transgender female who was unconscious and unresponsive suffering from a stab wound,” the statement says. “Units from the Sixth District and D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital and was admitted in critical condition,” the statement says.

“On Friday, Feb. 3, 2012, at 2:35 a.m., the victim was pronounced dead. The decedent has not been identified at this time,” the initial statement said.

The video released by police later in the day shows a man walking across a street wearing a dark jacket and light colored pants. His face is not clearly visible in the video.

Adler said investigators have obtained a description of the suspect from “a variety of different sources.”

“The person we are looking for at this time is a black male, 30 to 40 years old, five-feet-nine to six-feet tall, medium build, medium complexion with a beard,” Adler said. “At the time of the incident the person was wearing a black jacket with a grey hooded sweatshirt underneath it and a pair of what we believe is jeans.”

Asked whether evidence exists to indicate the killing was a hate crime, Adler said “At this time we are still investigating if it is or is not a hate crime. And as the investigation proceeds we should probably get a better idea of whether that was a factor in the assault.”

The D.C. Trans Coalition issued a statement Friday saying it had learned through its own sources that a third person was at the bus stop when the stabbing took place and chased after the attacker. The statement says the attacker escaped when the witness realized that Jones was in need of immediate medical attention.

The statement says the group learned that Jones had been stabbed in the cheek and was taken by ambulance to Prince George’s County Hospital.

Earline Budd, an official with the transgender services and advocacy group Transgender Health Empowerment, said Friday morning that investigators planned to bring one or more photos of the victim to the THC office with the hope that someone there could identify the victim.

But Adler said homicide investigators identified Jones through fingerprints. He declined to say whether Jones’ finger prints had been on file in police and court records from a prior arrest.

D.C. Superior Court records show that a defendant on record as JaParker Jones had been arrested three times in D.C. between 2008 and 2011. The records show Jones had been charged in 2008 and 2011 with misdemeanor simple assault. In the 2008 case, prosecutors dropped the charge. In the 2011 case, a judge dismissed the case after determining prosecutors failed to prepare for the case at the time of trial.

In the third case, filed in 2010, court records show that Jones had been charged with second-degree theft and possession of a controlled substance, both misdemeanors. The records show Jones pleaded guilty to the second-degree theft change and the government dropped the possession of controlled substance charge as part of a plea bargain.

A judge sentenced Jones to a 150-day suspended jail term and ordered her to enroll in a drug treatment program and to undergo drug testing as well as counseling during a one-year period of probation, court records show.

Captain Edward Delgado, director of the department’s Special Liaison Unit, which oversees the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit, told LGBT activists in an email Thursday night that the stabbing occurred after some type of altercation took place between Jones and the suspect.

“Apparently there was a fight with the knife involved,” Delgado said in his email. “An adult female (transgendered) was stabbed at least once to the head by a black male wearing heavy dark coat with grey striped hat.”

A separate statement released by the Metropolitan Police Department’s public information office says police offer a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons wanted for any homicide committed in D.C.

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 202-272-9099. Anonymous information can be submitted to the department’s “TEXT TIP LINE” by text messaging 50411, the police statement says.

Two transgender women were murdered in the city in separate incidents in 2011. Both cases remain unsolved.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. L. A..

    February 4, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Chief Lanier just goes about business as usual, and for her it is. The District of Columbia is a dangerous city for the L.G.B.T. community under Lanier and it seems that fact is simply accepted. Vincent Grey should remove her from her position as Police Chief and install someone that sees all of the people in the District as equals.

    • none of this should happen to anyone

      February 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm

      its business as usual for most any crime ….. children, seniors and innocents are killed, murdered almost daily- should business be any different for the L.G.B.T?
      Hope they find who the person is – wonder if it was a jilted lover or a man trying to pick up women…

  2. brian / ward 5

    February 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

    UPDATE re. MPD and SLU public communications…

    As reported above, the MPD statement (copied immediately below) was distributed last night– apparently to all MPD district listservs.

    Whether a hate crime or not, it is important that MPD telegraph to EVERYONE– the public at large, MPD officers and, especially, perpetrators and would-be perpetrators, that MPD takes violent crimes against LGBT people very seriously. It is easy to forget that MPD’s (and USAO-DC’s) ability/ opportunity to deter future assaults and homicides begins at the start of every investigation and runs throughout the criminal justice process.

    Thanks to MPD communications and MPD-SLU for getting info about this case more widely distributed.
    #

    *****

    Contact: Officer Araz Alali 202-727-4383

    February 3, 2012

    ***UPDATED***

    Person of Interest Sought in Homicide in the 4900 Block of East Capitol Street, Northeast

    (Washington, DC)-Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch have announced the victim has been identified in the fatal stabbing which occurred in the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, Northeast and a person of interest is being sought.

    On Thursday, February 2, 2012, at approximately 8:13 pm, a Metro Transit Police Officer was flagged down for an assault at a bus stop in the 4900 block of East Capitol Street, Northeast. Upon arrival, the officer located a transgender female, who was unconscious and unresponsive suffering from a stab wound. Units from the Sixth District and DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services personnel responded to the scene. The victim was transported to a local hospital and was admitted in critical condition.

    On Friday, February 3, 2012, at 2:35 am, the victim was pronounced dead. The victim has been identified as 23-year-old JaParker Jones of Northeast, Washington, DC, who is also known as “Deoni” and “Logan.”

    Detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the subject crossing the middle of the intersection in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRonRazhiCA .The subject in the video is seen crossing the street toward the top of the screen as he approaches the bus stop. He is described as a black male with medium complexion, 30-40 years of age, with a beard. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black jacket with a gray hooded sweatshirt underneath.

    The Metropolitan Police Department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons wanted for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.

    Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099. Additionally, anonymous information may be submitted to the department’s TEXT TIP LINE by text messaging 50411.

  3. laurelboy2

    February 4, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Sorry. I can’t identify the culprit from the very clear images in the video. He looks like a thousand people I see everyday…

    • brian / ward 5

      February 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      Sure, that appears true enough, LB. But a ‘person of interest’ is not necessarily a ‘culprit’.

      A person in a video clip could be just a regular neighborhood passerby– who might provide a piece of additional information to MPD’s investigation. Someone else might recognize his particular clothing, e.g., and can provide MPD his name or residence. Consider that maybe he saw a suspected perp get into a car, and can provide some kind of vehicle description, or license plate info, etc.

      It’s tempting to assume a lot from a video– or even from press reports. And MPD may, for very good investigative reasons, be holding certain information back from public reports.

      The important thing is that people with any information at all about a crime or the people involved– no matter how unimportant it may seem– call MPD or MPD’s anonymous tip line noted in Lou’s reporting and MPD’s crime update.

  4. Rebecca Juro

    February 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Like I’d expect many trans people do, I’d like to know why the staff of the Washington Blade felt it necessary to ignore AP Stylebook standards and include Deoni Jones’ given name in this story. Doing so added nothing to the story and serves only to denigrate her chosen gender and identity.

    Frankly, I’ve come to expect far more respectful reporting from the Blade and it’s disappointing to me to see that quality standard not being reflected here.

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Howard County activists and allies hit back at censorship, hate

More than 100 people attended ‘We ARE the People’ rally

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(Photo by Bob Ford)

A diverse crowd of 100 to 200 folks gathered at the Columbia Lakefront on Saturday to attend a rally to push back against censorship in the county’s public schools as well as homophobia and transphobia emanating from a group of conservative parents.

The rally called “We ARE the People” was organized in response to the comments and actions by members of a Maryland-based conservative group “We the People 2” that among other things are anti-masks, anti-vaccinations and are opposed to teaching racial history in the schools. They also oppose two books that are in Howard County Public Schools library shelves: “Gender Queer” and “Lawn Boy.”

Speakers at a We the People 2 rally last month at an Elkridge warehouse condemned the books, which contain LGBTQ characters, as sexually explicit. The group later filed police reports against the Board of Education alleging the books constitute pornography with “graphic sexual content and materials being used and disseminated in public schools,” according to the group’s press release.  A flier announcing this action used the loaded terminology, “We must not allow our children to be abused and victimized.”

Among the speakers at the Elkridge rally was Republican Gordana Schifanelli who is running for lieutenant governor on the ticket with Daniel Cox. Another speaker, George Johnson, a teacher from Baltimore City, was heard on a video of the event saying, “We’re doing God’s work because Marxism, homosexuality and transgenderism is the devil.”

In response, the pro-LGBTQ rally in Columbia announced the following:

We are taking a stance against hate in the community as we raise our voices in support of equity in our schools. Attacks on teachers and school staff have prompted us to stand united and drown out the noise.

In addition, We ARE the People states:

We stand for LGBTQ+ students and educational professionals

Teaching accurate history to our students

Supporting equitable practices in our schools

Providing students with relevant LGBTQ+ media through their school libraries

The two-hour rally, which was attended by several county council members, featured speakers representing a wide swath of community, educational, religious and political organizations. They included: Community Allies of Rainbow Youth (CARY), Black Lives Activists of Columbia (BLAC), Absolutely Dragulous, Howard County Schools, PFLAG-Columbia/Howard County, IndivisibleHoCoMd, Columbia Democratic Club, Howard Progressive Project, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia (UUCC), HoCo Pride, Progressive Democrats of Howard County, and the Columbia United Christian Church.

Many of the speakers denounced the censorship of materials that are needed by many LGBTQ students. Genderqueer and non-binary students, they point out, are most vulnerable and need affirming literature to help with their development and self-acceptance. The speakers also decried hate speech, which has surfaced again, as well as the opposition to teaching history as it relates to race.

Others argued that the community must not sit back and take it from extremist groups.

“You are all defenders,” said Cynthia Fikes, president of the Columbia Democratic Club, in a fiery speech. “But to succeed a strong defense also needs a strong offense.”

The two books in question were recently the center of controversy in the Fairfax County (Va.) school system. The books were removed in September from the shelves of the high schools pending a comprehensive review following opposition from a parent at a school board meeting. It should be noted that both books were previous winners of the American Library Association’s Alex Awards, which each year recognize “10 books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, ages 12 through 18.”  

The board established two committees consisting of parents, staff and students to assess the content of the books and make recommendations to the assistant superintendent of instructional services who would make the final determination.

One committee found that “Lawn Boy” includes themes that “are affirming for students” with marginalized identities. “There is no pedophilia in the book,” the committee added. The other committee found that “Gender Queer” depicts “difficulties non-binary and asexual individuals may face.” The committee concluded that “the book neither depicts nor describes pedophilia.” The books were restored to the shelves.

“As this backlash against LGTBQ+ literature demonstrates, we must be ready to stand up and defend the progress we have made,” said Jennifer Mallo, member of the Howard County Board of Education, expressing her own point of view. “We must ensure our elected officials understand and share our values and will fight for our marginalized students.”

The enthusiastic crowd was clearly pleased with the event.

“Today’s rally was meant to inspire our community to take action,” said Chris Hefty, who was the lead organizer of the rally and the emcee. “Action that protects our youth. Action that protects our educators and admins. This action comes in the form of advocacy, communication with elected officials so they know your voice, and through well informed voting to ensure those who represent us are those we know will support us. We shared a message of love, acceptance, and warmth.”

Hefty adds, “The unity we facilitated through this rally was a sight to behold. As the lead organizer I couldn’t have been more pleased! In the future we will be sure to better meet the needs of all our community members. We thank all those in our community for their support and feedback and look forward to accomplishing great things together moving forward.”

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Comings & Goings

Nathanson takes role at Outright Action

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Rikki Nathanson

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected] 

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Rikki Nathanson on her new position as Senior Advisor – Global Trans Program with OutRight Action International in New York. Nathanson will be based in D.C.  

 “I am absolutely thrilled to be taking on this new role as Senior Advisor in OutRight’s Global Trans Program,” said Nathanson. “I have finally found the perfect fit for me: as a trans woman who has been fighting for equality not only for myself, but for others globally, this position is not only a job, it’s intrinsically part of who I am. So, what better way to live, nurture and grow myself.” 

Nathanson will be working closely with all program staff to ensure a cohesive and intentional approach to gender issues throughout OutRight’s programs, including its approach to gender ideology movements. She will lead new initiatives on gender advocacy and policy change, focused but not limited to legal gender recognition and anti-discrimination legislation and policies.

Prior to this Nathanson was director of housing programs at Casa Ruby in D.C. She has also held a number of other positions including: founder/executive director of Trans Research, Education, Advocacy & Training (TREAT), Zimbabwe; chairperson Southern Africa Trans Forum, SATF, Cape Town, South Africa; executive director, Ricochet Modeling Agency, Zimbabwe; and company secretary for Dunlop Zimbabwe Limited, Zimbabwe. 

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SMYAL Director Shakir to step down Dec. 31

Board to launch Executive Search beginning in January

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SMYAL Executive Director Sultan Shakir addresses the crowd at the 2021 Fall Brunch. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Sultan Shakir, who has served as executive director of D.C.’s LGBTQ youth advocacy organization SMYAL since August 2014, announced on Friday that he will be stepping down from his position effective Dec. 31.

In a Dec. 3 announcement, SMYAL said details of Shakir’s future career plans would be announced in the coming weeks.

“While we are sad to see Sultan leave, we wish him nothing but the same success in his new endeavor as he had at SMYAL,” said Rob Cogorno, SMYAL’s board chair. “His leadership and vision enabled SMYAL to expand greatly needed services to LGBTQ youth in the DC metro area throughout his tenure,” Cogorno said.

“I am immensely proud of the work we have been able to accomplish together in my time at SMYAL,” Shakir said in a statement released by SMYAL. “SMYAL has been an integral and vital resource in the DMV community for over 37 years, and while we have come a long way in combating homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexual health stigma, homelessness, violence against the LGBTQ community, and oppression, we have a long way to go,” he said.

“This work has never been about one person,” said Shakir. “SMYAL was founded by our community and we’re still around because of our community,” he said. “I leave knowing that the commitment and passion of the SMYAL Board, staff, volunteers, and youth leaders have created a solid foundation from which our work will continue to grow until LGBTQ youth no longer need us.”

The SMYAL statement says that under Shakir’s tenure, SMYAL, which stands for Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders, expanded its programs and services for LGBTQ youth. Among other things, in 2017 SMYAL opened its first of several housing facilities for homeless LGBTQ youth that include culturally competent case management, education and employment assistance.

“The Youth Housing Program now comprises five programmatic models that serve a combined 61 youth residents,” the statement says.

It points out that also under Shakir’s leadership, SMYAL expanded the age range of the youth its programs serve under a new Little SMYALs program, which welcomes LGBTQ youth ages 6-12. And earlier in 2021 under Shakir’s guidance, SMYAL began a new Clinical Services Department “which provides affirming and accessible mental health counseling,” the statement says.

“The SMYAL Board of Directors will officially launch an Executive Search beginning in January 2022 and expects to have named a new Executive Director by summer 2022,” the statement says. It says the board will soon name an interim executive director to work with SMYAL’s Deputy Executive Director, Jorge Membreno, and the organization’s leadership team to oversee the day-to-day activities until a new executive director is named.

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