St. Louis Car Hits Protestors Marching For Kiwi Herring, A Transgender Woman Killed By Police

Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Share

https://www.autostraddle.com/2017-trans-women-murdered-385295/A tense moment took a turn for the worse on Wednesday evening, when a driver was arrested in St. Louis after hitting protesters who had gathered to mourn the death of a transgender woman, Kiwi Herring. Protesters had gathered at St. Louis' Transgender Memorial Garden then marched into the street, eventually blocking traffic. According to a report from ABC News, the driver in question approached the protesters and honked his horn before attempting to drive around the group, which had mostly surrounded him. As he tried to drive away, three people sustained injuries from falling into the car.

Herring had been fatally shot by the St. Louis police on Tuesday after reportedly attempting to stab an officer. Police had arrived on the scene because of a fight between Herring and her neighbors, which eventually led to the altercation in which Herring lost her life.

Metro Trans Umbrella Group organized a vigil for Herring on Wednesday, both in honor of her life and as a protest against the high rate of violence against trans people, particularly against transgender women of color like Herring.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, friends and relatives said that Herring and her partner, who together raised three boys aged between 2 to 8, had already felt harassed for several years because of their lifestyle; "The homophobic people weren't accepting" of Herring, the woman's sister-in-law told TV station KSDK.

No reports so far have suggested that the incident that led to the driver's arrest at the protest had anything to do with the vigil's purpose or with Herring. After protesters had surrounded the car, they reportedly began banging on it, and the driver then pushed through the crowd and drove away.

An alternative account of the incident from a protester who claimed that he witnessed it maintains that the driver raised both middle fingers and then accelerated into the group of protesters. Either way, police pulled the driver over and arrested him when he was just around the corner from the protest, and he was then charged with felony fleeing.

Three of the protesters were injured, but none of the injuries were serious enough that they required medical attention. But although the incident fortunately didn't result in any casualties, it comes at a very tense time both in terms of cars driving into groups of people and violence against transgender individuals.

Less than two weeks ago, the U.S. witnessed the tragic death of Heather Heyer, a civil rights activist killed by a white supremacist who drove into a crowd of counter-protestors; the next week, the world mourned when a terrorist drove into a busy street in Barcelona, killing 15 people.

The pattern into which Herring has now fallen is no less tragic, however. As of the middle of August, at least 16 transgender women of color had already been killed in various incidents. With Herring, that number now goes up to 17.