Dozens gather to remember transgendered murder victim - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Dozens gather to remember transgendered murder victim

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Dozens of people from across Memphis walked in remembrance of Duanna Johnson, the transgendered woman who was murdered last week, during a two-block processional in the Cooper-Young district on Sunday night. 

"I hope we can use this time to recommit ourselves to living together as a community," said Pastor Cheryl Cornish of First Congregational Church, where the processional ended.

Johnson made national headlines earlier this year when a jailhouse surveillance video surfaced showing her being beaten by a Memphis police officer.

"I was horrified as a citizen to see that," said Cornish.

Johnson had been arrested for prostitution, but the charge was later dropped.
 
She filed a lawsuit against the Memphis Police Department. Her family's attorney says they plan to go ahead with the suit.

The officer, Bridges McRae, was fired. He's currently appealing that decision.

Five months after the beating at 201 Poplar, Johnson was shot to death on a Memphis street corner where she often worked as a prostitute.
    
No arrests have been made in connection with her murder.
     
Participants in Sunday's candlelight vigil called for justice.
 
"We call on our civic leaders to have better laws and policies addressing crimes against the LBGT community," said Felipe Zuvichaux.
    
Activists like Jonathan Cole of the Tennessee Equality Project say they will continue to fight in Johnson's memory. "We must continue her struggle by pressing our government to treat all people with respect, fairness and dignity."
     
The nation's largest gay civil rights organization called for a thorough investigation of Johnson's murder on Wednesday.
    
The Memphis Police Department says it plans to bring in the F.B.I if Johnson's murder appears to be a hate crime.


Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.
          

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