A black transgender man was fatally shot Wednesday by a police officer in Tallahassee, Florida — at least the third reported officer-involved shooting in Tallahassee in two months.
The victim, Tony McDade, 38, was identified as a suspect in a reported stabbing the morning of his death. Police said McDade fled the scene of the stabbing on foot before officers arrived, but they encountered McDade nearby shortly afterward.
According to police, McDade reportedly had a handgun and “made a move consistent with using the firearm” against an officer, prompting the officer to shoot McDade.
The Tallahassee Police Department said that it is investigating and that the officer, who was not identified, has been placed on administrative leave.
News of McDade’s death coincides with protests in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died Monday after a white Minneapolis police officer pinned him to the ground and put his knee on his neck for about eight minutes. The officer was arrested Friday and charged with third-degree murder.
“When we say all Black lives matter, we mean ALL,” tweeted Black Visions Collective, a Minneapolis-based advocacy group working for racial justice. “Our hearts go out to Tony’s family and the Black people of Tallahassee.”
In a video posted to Facebook early Wednesday morning, less than 10 hours before the McDade shooting, McDade said he’d been attacked by a group of men and that he planned to fight back.
“It’s just Tony the Tiger all alone coming for your blood,” McDade said. “I am killing and going to be killed, because I will not go back into federal prison.”
McDade was released from prison in January after serving 10 years on federal charges of possessing firearms following felony convictions.
Though police and several local news reports referred to McDade as a “female,” McDade used he/him pronouns on Facebook, and local advocacy groups said he identified as a transgender man.
Equality Florida, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization, said McDade’s death further exemplifies that Florida is “an epicenter of anti-trans violence.” At least seven black transgender people were murdered in Florida over the last two years, according to the organization.
Following McDade’s death, the National Black Justice Coalition said the “tragic incident should be a reminder that hate crimes against Black LGBTQ” people happen “too frequently” and “often without the national public outcry that our cis and/or heteronormative brothers and sisters receive.”
“It is important to highlight the too often ignored violence that members of our community face in addition to the discrimination we may experience because we are Black,” the coalition said in a statement.”
At least 11 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other means this year so far, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ advocacy group.