Carlton Calloway, a man who was arrested on Thursday of last week in connection with the attack on Joslyn Flawless, Eden the Doll, and Jaslene Whiterose, was released from jail on Tuesday. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has asked police to further investigate the allegations and has decided not to file any charges against the alleged attackers at this time.
The account of the attack that the three trans women gave to the Advocate last week tells a story of monumental cruelty. At one point during the incident, a mob of men were laughing as Jaslene laid on the ground, having just woken up after passing out when one of the men hit her in the back of the head with a glass bottle.
The mob, made up mostly of Black men at this point, Jaslene clarified, began chanting “BLM” and “Black Lives Matter.” And “I was just so confused, like why I wasn’t treated like a Black person that they wanted to save or they wanted to help,” she said.
“Before I even got hit, I was like screaming around the block. ‘Somebody call 911. Somebody call 911. People were literally laughing at me, telling me, ‘No.’
“No one wanted to help us because everybody had already heard that we were trans. And to them it was like we were no longer human,” she said.
There is something deeply twisted and inhuman about a group of Black men chanting “Black lives matter” as they viciously attack and mock three trans women of color, two of whom are Black. What a perverted distortion of that phrase, which was coined by three Black women—two of whom are queer—to assert the importance of all Black lives.
There is a temptation for many to see the police as the primary avenue for bringing perpetrators to “justice” after a crime has been committed. But for many trans people—especially for Black trans women like Joslyn Flawless and Jaslene Whiterose—law enforcement represents just another site of potential violence. Police officers have a long history of participating in violence against trans people. A report from the Anti-Violence project revealed that in 2013, trans people were 3.7 times more likely than cis people to experience police violence, and 7 times more likely to experience physical violence when interacting with the police. And that’s not even getting into the specific dehumanization and violence experienced by Black trans people in their interactions with law enforcement.
Jezebel staff writer Joan Summers encapsulated this phenomenon when writing about the murder of Black trans man Tony McDade at the hands of a police officer just a few long months ago:
“Neither the police, nor the outlets who first broke the story, have retracted their misgendering of Dade.... What of McDade’s trauma: Living in a country, and inside of a community, where black trans people are too often discarded and violated and stripped of basic rights.”