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A man from Southwest Philadelphia has been arrested for the murder of black trans woman London Kiki Chanel, who was found bleeding to death on the pavement on Monday.
Chanel, aged just 21, was found with multiple stab wounds at 12.49am. She died in hospital at 1.03am, making her at least the eight trans woman of colour murdered in America in 2015. Police initially misgendered Chanel in their reports, although the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia acted to make sure officers in the police’s media division knew Chanel was a woman and to use her chosen name.
Raheam Felton, 31, was arrested for the murder and will have his preliminary hearing on 3 June. According to the police Felton – whose record lists 12 previous arrests for prostitution, burglary and aggravated assault – admitted that he had killed Chanel, whom he knew, after an argument.
Speaking to Philadelphia Gay News, LGBT liaison Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel claimed there wasn’t transphobic intent behind the crime: ‘There was some conflict, some allegation, between London and the offender and he stabbed her repeatedly, which resulted in her death. There was not an issue where the decedent was killed because she was transgender.’
Felton apparently attempted CPR on Chanel, and signalled for help, before the police were called.
According to BuzzFeed, the director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs, Nellie Fitzpatrick, said, ‘Society is finally beginning to recognize that trans women of color are victimized and murdered at astounding rates. We just have far too many individuals who are dying too young at the hands of violence.’