Vigil held for trans man shot dead by police
A memorial service has been held for a transgender man who was fatally shot this month in Arizona.
Around 100 people attended a vigil at the Civic Space Park, Mesa, to celebrate the life of Kayden Clarke who was killed during a welfare check.
The 24-year-old died after officers responded to a call by worried friends saying he was suicidal.
The group, who lit candles, stood in silence as Beyonce’s ‘I was Here’ was played.
“You may have not have known him directly, but we feel a loss in our community,” said Monica Jones, who organised the event.
“He was taken from us far too soon.”
One-N-Ten Programme Director, Kado Stewart, knew Mr Clarke and said he had been buried in a suit and tie and “looked very handsome,” which drew applause from the crowd.
Gabe Parker, who was a friend of Mr Clarke, said: “He was a free spirit, he was a really good person.
“It feels like a dream, it doesn’t feel real.”
Members of Mr Clarke’s family said they were still struggling to come to terms with what had happened, but were thankful of the support they had received.
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The event was also used to draw attention to members of the transgender community and the challenges they face.
“It’s important for the transgender community to show unity in violence against community members,” said Abby Jensen of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance.
“Gatekeeping has caused a lot of pain in this community.”
Police claim that Mr Clarke – who suffered from Aspergers Syndrome – was shot twice, when he lunged at officers with a knife.
Following the incident, the Mesa Police Department announced plans to create a new crisis-response team to better help citizens suffering from cognitive disabilities, mental illness or are in crisis.
A Go Fund Me page raised over $4000 to help cover Mr Clarke’s funeral costs.