It’s been over a week since Tony McDade was killed by police and we still don’t know the name of the officer responsible
Tony McDade, a Black trans man, was shot dead by a white police officer in north Florida on May 27, becoming the third person killed by Florida police in the last two months.
McDade’s passing did not receive the same amount of media attention as that of George Floyd, another Black man killed by police two days earlier.
However in the wake of both men’s deaths, and those of the countless Black people who have died at the hands of police, the US has seen large and passionate protests demanding equality and an end to the violence against Black people.
The actions of Black Lives Matter protesters has resulted in charges being levelled against all four of the sacked police officers involved in Floyd’s death.
Derek Chauvin, who pinned Floyd down by the neck using his knee until he died, has been charged with second degree murder, having previously been arrested for third degree murder.
The other three officers who watched on for eight minutes as Chauvin held down Floyd — Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — are facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s family have said they feel “gratified” by the charges, and their lawyer has called the move “a significant step on the road to justice”.
However, the family of Tony McDade have felt no such relief. More than a week after he was killed, Tallahassee police are yet to release the name of the officer who killed him.
“Justice cannot be served without accountability,” Natishia June, the deputy field director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, said during a press briefing Monday (June 1), via ABC.
June called for an independent investigation into McDade’s death.
“The Tallahassee Police Department must be held accountable to Tony McDade’s family and the community they are sworn to protect and serve,” she added.
Tony McDade’s death remains shrouded in uncertainties.
The official police briefing on Tony McDade’s killing said he was shot after fleeing the scene of a fatal stabbing, of which he was a suspect.
Police chief Lawrence Revell said an officer confronted McDade.
“Our officer called out: ‘Shots fired,’” he said.
“He said over the radio that the suspect had pointed a gun at him. The suspect was in possession of a handgun, and a bloody knife was found at the scene of the stabbing.”
The officer was unhurt and has been placed on administrative leave. Revell said there was “no indication of wrongdoing” or of a “racial motivation”.
However since then witness reports have emerged which conflict with the police’s version of events. According to them, police did not announce themselves as police before they began firing, nor was McDade armed.
“As soon as he pulled up I seen him jump out of the car, swing the door open, and start shooting,” eyewitness Clifford Butler told NPR affiliate WFSU.
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“I never heard, ‘Get down, freeze, I’m an officer.’ I never heard nothing. I just heard gunshots.”
Another witness, Kim Simmons, can be heard in a video posted to Facebook claiming that police “jumped right out the car and started shooting”, again stating that the officers just “got out the car blasting”.
It has also come to light that before his death, McDade had uploaded a video to Facebook promising retribution for a racist, transphobic attack on him by five men.
“It’s just Tony the Tiger all alone coming for your blood,” he wrote.
In the video he added that he would rather have a “stand off” with police officers than return to prison.
“I am killing and going to be killed because I will not go back into federal prison,” he said.