The death of a transgender woman who was brutally beaten in Harlem last week has been ruled a homicide. Islan Nettles, 21, was with another transgender woman when she was beaten by a group of men during an argument around 11 p.m. on Saturday; she succumbed to her injuries on Thursday. The medical examiner says Nettles died from blunt impact injuries to her head; cops are now investigating whether the suspect used antigay epithets during the attack.
Police say that they believe the incident was sparked after 20-year-old suspect Paris Wilson made a pass at Nettles and was shocked to learn she was not born a woman. The man got into a fight with Nettles and her friend after that, which led to the beating near West 148th Street near 8th Avenue—directly across the street from the housing bureau's Police Service Area 6 precinct.
Nettles' mother, Delores, told DNAInfo that friends told her that Islan was with two other transgender women when a group of eight men began following them up the boulevard and hurling homophobic insults and slurs. "They were taunting them. They were saying f--, hatred slurs, like gay, she-male," she said. Wilson was initially charged with Assault in the Third Degree and Harassment in the Second Degree, but those charges will likely be upgraded now.
Nettles was an intern assistant designer at Ay’Medici, a Harlem fashion company. "He knocked my baby out on the floor," Dolores Nettles said. "He was out cold and he kept beating and beating and beating. Half of my baby's brain is missing out of his head. His eyes is closed shut...He deserves life in prison because he took a life,"