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Crime

Transgender man killed in Puerto Rico, then misgendered by police and the media

Nick Duffy March 11, 2020
Yampi Méndez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender man, was killed in Moca, Puerto Rico, on March 5.

Yampi Méndez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender man, was killed in Moca, Puerto Rico, on March 5.

A transgender man was killed in Puerto Rico, and then misgendered by the police and media after his death.

Yampi Méndez Arocho, a 19-year-old transgender man, was killed in Moca, Puerto Rico, on March 5.

According to El Nuevo Día, Arocho was shot hours after he was assaulted, and his mother contacted the police. There is little information about the context for the killing, however.

The murder is the second killing of a transgender person in Puerto Rico in just weeks, after trans woman Alexa Negrón Luciano was shot dead after using a women’s bathroom.

Trans murder victim ‘misgendered by the media’

Local LGBT+ group CABE has called for police to investigate whether the killing – is  a hate crime.

The group said that the LGBT+ community “are going through an extremely difficult time after Alexa’s vile murder” and called on police to fully investigate whether the killing is a hate crime.

CABE said: “Police procedures for crimes against LGBTTIQ people state that the angle of hatred should be investigated in these cases.

“Police [must] comply with their own protocols to deal with cases involving the trans community with dignity and sensitivity.”

Human Rights Campaign said: “In an injustice compounding this tragedy, Arocho was misgendered in some media reports.

“Anti-transgender stigma is exacerbated by callous or disrespectful treatment too often seen from media, law enforcement and our highest elected officials.”

The group condemned an “epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of colour.”

Second trans person killed in Puerto Rico

His murder comes after oucry at the February 24 killing of Alexa Negrón Luciano in the town of Toa Baja, 70 miles away.

Police are investigating the murder of the trans woman Alexa Luciano Ruiz in Puerto Rico
Police are investigating the murder of the trans woman Alexa Negrón Luciano in Puerto Rico (Twitter/@DavidBegnaud)

No one has been arrested for the crime, despite videos being posted online of Luciano’s killing.

Police said they are investigating a disturbing video uploaded to YouTube which appears to show the murder. Two voices can be heard on the video, one saying: “We are going to shoot you up.”

Another says, “Let’s spin the tires on this motherf*cker” and “You bet I am going to go and shoot him.” Then the sound of a gun loading can be heard, followed by at least 10 shots.

More: Puerto Rico

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