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Chilling video shows police officers dropping trans woman on her face in brutal chokehold

Lily Wakefield December 10, 2021
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A video has been released of a trans woman, Amber Canter, being held in a brutal chokehold and dropped on her face by officers in a Baltimore corrections facility.

Canter has filed a lawsuit against the state of Maryland and several officers involved in the incident, which took place at the Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center in June 2019, according to CNN.

The footage was released by her attorney and shows Canter in a yellow jumpsuit, her body limp, while she is dragged by an officer holding her in a chokehold.

She is hauled into the facility’s dayroom, still in a chokehold, before being dropped face-first onto the concrete floor.

According to her civil complaint, she was left with bone fractures and severe bruising on her face, internal bleeding behind her right eye and pneumocephalus​, a pocket of air inside the skull which can be fatal.

The complaint alleges that the correctional officers failed to seek medical treatment for more than ten minutes, after which Canter had to be taken to an intensive care unit.

Amber Canter alleges that correctional officers used anti-LGBT+ slurs, and said she ‘got what was coming’ to her

According to Amber Canter’s lawsuit, the incident began when she was told that she might be transferred to another facility.

Canter, who had become “notoriously known by Baltimore Central Booking correctional officers and staff as a persistent advocate and activist for transgender inmate rights” and was housed with male inmates, was told that if she wasn’t transferred she would be allowed to go for recreational time.

But on hearing the plan, another officer announced that she “[did not] give a f**k, this f****t will not get nothing extra”.

When Canter was not transferred, she asked about the recreational time, but was bombarded with slurs by the same officer, according to the complaint.

The officer said she would lock Canter in her cell, and the trans woman sat down on the ground in protest.

Officer Zanel Santana, named in the lawsuit as the officer who put her in the chokehold, then allegedly arrived, saying: “Mace this f**king d**k-sucker!”

While in hospital, Canter told hospital staff what had happened, and they contacted Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center about her complaint.

In “retaliation”, when Canter arrived back at the facility, staff “refused to allow Amber to attend all her medical appointments”, the lawsuit says.

Another officer allegedly told her on her return: “I see your f****t ass got what was coming to you!”

Canter is suing for a minimum of $75,000 in damages on 11 counts, claiming her civil rights were violated and she was subjected to negligence, assault and battery.

In a statement to CNN, Canter’s attorneys said: “We will not let this apparent hate crime, committed under the watch of the Maryland prison system, go unaddressed.

“Amber has long fought for transgender rights and has vigorously complained about the state correctional system’s mistreatment of her and other members of the LGBTQ inmate community.

“Such senseless brutality against the transgender community cannot and will not be tolerated, no matter where it occurs.”

In addition to Canter’s civil complaint, three officers have been indicted on criminal assault and misconduct charges in relation to the incident, and are due to appear in court in March.

More: Maryland, transphobia

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