The Manhattan District Attorney announced that a suspect had been indicted in the death of a transgender person who was found on a Manhattan sidewalk last month.
D.A. Cy Vance said that the victim, who was known as Kenneth or Brenda Bostick, 59, was struck "with such force that it left a skull injury that caused the victim’s senseless and tragic death 12 days later."
Authorities say that Joseph Griffin, 26, approached Bostick around 10 p.m. on April 25 on Seventh Avenue between 27th and 28th Streets and allegedly struck them with a "long, metal object." Then, 90 minutes after fleeing the scene, Griffin allegedly ran into traffic and climbed onto a taxi cab that had stopped and proceeded to smash the windshield.
Bostick was discovered unconscious outside 343 Seventh Avenue near West 29th Street in Chelsea on April 25 and was taken to a hospital, where they were pronounced braindead on May 4.
Police initially identified Bostick as Brenda Bostick, but the Village Voice spoke to a social services provider who said Bostick identified as male. The provider said, "For the people who knew him and worked with him, the media’s constant reference to him as ‘she’ is extraordinarily painful and difficult."
At a vigil last week, NY1 reported, "A former case worker for the victim says they identified as a trans woman for part of their life, but transitioned back to male and went by the name 'Kenneth' before dying. People we spoke with say no matter what gender a person identifies with, people within the trans community need to be protected."
"When you're trans, your life is in danger," said another. "You know, especially when you're black, you're poor, you're homeless — your life is in danger."
Griffin was charged with first-degree manslaughter for Bostick's death as well as third-degree criminal mischief for the taxi cab incident. Vance said, "My Office is committed to ensuring that justice is served in Bostick’s memory."
Ed. note: This post was updated to reflect that Bostick was a cisgender male who identified as a woman for a time before transitioning back to male.