Black transgender women like Eyricka King are disproportionately the victims of physical and sexual abuse by police officers.
[TW- Transmisogyny, homophobia, assault and abuse.]
Earlier this week, a trans woman named Eyricka King alerted her mother, Kelly Harrison, that she was being severely abused while serving time in Franklin Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
In the four page letter, King described the abuse that she had been subjected to at the hands of correctional officers. “They are trying to kill me…I think I might die in here please help me,” King wrote. Those daunting words were only the beginning of the letter in which she pleaded for help.
King wrote that the correctional officers were denying her medical treatment and the pain she was being subjected to had kept her from being able to eat since June 30. On Thursday evening, King’s friend announced that she had been moved to an unconfirmed location where she was being treated for her injuries but remained in solitary confinement. An investigation is being launched to determine what happened.
Earlier this week, Harrison took to Facebook to share her daughter’s story. In an emotional video, she says, “I am not going to let this be swept underneath the rug.”
King’s letter described how other inmates at the prison tried to assault and proposition her for sex. When King reported this to officers, she was physically attacked by them. According to King, she had been trying to get her message out on three different occasions, but the prison sergeants kept returning them to her ripped up in pieces. King finally managed to get her message out when she was called back to court at the Downstate Correctional Facility.
Based on a report by the Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, black transgender women are disproportionately the victims of physical and sexual abuse by police officers. However, the excessive force experienced by King is considered unconstitutional as inmates have protection under the eighth amendment, which prohibits excessive force, police brutality, and sexual abuse.
Reviews of Franklin Correctional Facility shed light on the fact that this is not an isolated incident, there are patterns of abuse by sergeants at the prison, including an incident in November of last year, in which a corrections officer named Thomas Agens, was arrested by New York State Police for felony assault after striking an inmate at the prison.
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**UPDATE: Eyricka has been moved into protective custody (not solitary confinement) and an investigation is underway, according to @justiceforeyricka. Still, it's vital to remember so many trans folk are still being treated this way.** This #justiceforeyricka video broke my heart last night yet I still was able to sleep in my bed safely and comfortably — something Eyricka King (Thompson) has not been able to do. Eyricka is a black trans woman who is currently incarcerated by New York State. According to a letter she wrote (which took several attempts to get outside the correctional facility's walls) she has been physically and sexually abused and placed in solitary confinement. This is cruel and unjust yet all too usual punishment and treatment of trans women of color. YOU CAN HELP BY: 1. SHARING this video by @slaytv. 2. SAYING her name: #JusticeforEyricka 3. READING her letter from behind bars at @justiceforeyricka 4. CALLING the offices below to demand that Eyricka King (DIN: 16A4486) be moved to a facility where she can be in protective custody and not solitary confinement: 518-445-6176: Health Services Office in Albany (To report cases where a person is not being given appropriate medical attention) 518-457-3955 Jason Effman (Head of PREA in Albany) 518-457-2653 Office of Special Investigations 518-474-1010 Office of the Inspector General 5. SIGNING her petition on @changedotorg #justiceforeyricka #girlslikeus #twoc #transisbeautiful
UPDATE: The sergeants involved in the abuse of Eyricka King have been suspended without pay. [12:25EST, 14 July 2017]
If you would like to take part in seeing justice for Eyricka King, contact:
- Jason Effman, the head of PREA in Albany at 518-457-3955
- The Office of Special Investigations at 518-457-2653
- The Office of Inspector General at 518-474-1010 to demand King (DIN: 16A4486) be moved to protective custody and not solitary confinement.
- To report cases where a person is not being given appropriate medical attention, contact the Albany Health Services Office at 518-445-6176.
Finally, spread the message on social media under the hashtag #JusticeForEyricka.