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Half a million demand justice for Tete Gulley, a Black trans woman found hanged whose death has been labelled suicide

Nick Duffy June 17, 2020
Tete Gulley, a trans woman who was found hanged in a park in Portland, Oregon.

Tete Gulley, a trans woman who was found hanged in a park in Portland, Oregon.

More than half a million people have signed a petition calling for justice for Tete Gulley, a trans woman who was found hanged in a park in Portland, Oregon.

Gulley, a homeless Black transgender woman, was found hanged from a tree on May 27, 2019 in Rocky Butte Park, near to a homeless encampment.

Her death has been ruled a suicide by the Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office.

However, a year later the verdict is still being challenged by family and friends of Gulley, who believe she was killed “due to homophobic and transphobic violence”.

Family of Tete Gulley say police brushed off attempts to pass on information.

According to the Portland Mercury, friends believe that she was murdered and hung from a tree to make it appear a suicide, with some homeless people claiming to have witnessed the incident – though none of the rumours have been independently corroborated.

Gulley had several diagnosed mental health issues, but the family stressed that she was never suicidal. Relatives of Gulley say that the police have brushed off their attempts to pass on information they have received, including a potential suspect.

Tete Gulley, a trans woman who was found hanged in a park in Portland, with her mother Kenya Robinson
Tete Gulley, a trans woman who was found hanged in a park in Portland, with her mother Kenya Robinson

Gulley’s brother Richard Bryant, a former police cadet, told the newspaper: “They treat a lot of homeless people like they don’t mean nothing to this earth… in the homeless community, other people are willing to do hurt to more people, because they know their voices won’t be heard. They’re just homeless.”

A Change.org petition, demanding a full investigation of the incident and calling for the death records to be released, has so far attracted more than 500,000 signatures.

It says: “[The police should] be held accountable for failure to investigate critical evidence of witnesses and key suspects and to remedy this negligence immediately. The PPB has also failed to keep Tete’s family informed and has caused her family members a huge amount of stress and exhaustion.

“The PPB is allowing injustice to happen and must conduct a proper and thorough investigation of the death of Tete Gulley.”

Police call for anyone with evidence to come forward.

In a statement, the Portland Police Bureau said: “The Police Bureau has learned from a media report that there may be community members with additional information and/or video of the incident.

“A member of the detective division has made contact with family in an attempt to gather more details.

“If anyone has information about this incident or the circumstances leading up to it, please contact Detectives at (503) 823-0400. Detectives will share this information with the Medical Examiner’s Office.”

The police bureau added: “We continue to strive for increased trust and understanding with our LGBT+ and houseless community members. We encourage anyone with information about this incident to reach out to the Detective Division.”

More: black lives matter, black trans lives matter, murder, Oregon, police, portland, suicide, Tete Gulley

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