Dallas police looking for 'hate crime' connection between killing of two transgender women and stabbing of a third

A recent murder of a transgender woman in Dallas has sparked the notion that there may be connections between similar instances from the past.

Startling similarities have emerged in the deaths of two transgender women and a stabbing of the third which has prompted the Dallas police to look into these cases for a possible connection. Maj. Vincent Weddington said during a press conference that, ‘these cases, although not directly related at this time, do have some similarities the public needs to be aware of.’ This is the third incident of extreme violence against transgender women in Dallas in the last seven months, as reported by CNN.

The latest victim, Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was shot dead on Saturday following a video where she was seen being brutally assaulted. The incident happened about a month before her death. The connection between her beating and her death is not there as the police believe them to be two completely different incidents. Muhlaysia was found dead in northeastern Dallas.

A minor traffic accident last month at the Royal Crest apartments had led to a scuffle and a group of men were videographed beating Booker. The video, then, had emerged on Facebook and had caused massive uproar on social media. After the beating incident, Booker had come out in public and thanked her supporters who had backed her. It was on April 14 that 29-year-old Edward Thomas was arrested by the police for his participation in the assault. Maj. Vincent Weddington of Dallas Police Department had revealed that Thomas was later released on bond but they were unaware of his current whereabouts. Further, he also claimed that so far, there hasn't been any evidence to connect Thomas with Booker's murder.

The incidence of stabbing occurred in April, whereas the first killing of a trans woman happened last October. There was a yet another incident which remains unsolved wherein a transgender woman’s remains were found in a field in 2017. 

Pointing to the similarities, Weddington revealed that one of the victims had allowed a passenger to get inside her car while the other two had gotten into a vehicle. He did not clarify which incident corresponded with which victim due to the sensitivity of the ongoing investigation.

The police have revealed that they would be working with federal law enforcement agencies as well in order to establish if these crimes could be considered hate crimes. They have scheduled town hall meetings with members of the LGBTQ community and have come out to ask citizens for any information which could help them with the investigation.

In November, the FBI reported that 7,175 hate crimes were committed in the United States in 2017, the most recent year for which the agency had compiled data. Of those, 1,130 were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias. Of crimes motivated by gender identity bias, 106 targeted transgender people, a 1% increase from 2016.

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