Transgender Woman Shot, Robbed in Detroit on the Eve of the TDOR

Jason A. Michael
By | 2017-11-23T09:00:00+00:00 November 23rd, 2017|Michigan, News|

In the early morning hours of Nov. 17, a transgender woman was robbed and shot near Palmer Park. The victim, a 36-year-old known to most friends only as Chocolate, was walking on Woodward Avenue near Worcester Street when a SUV, a red GMC Yukon, pulled up alongside her.
Suddenly, two men stepped out of the vehicle while a third remained inside. According to a victim’s statement and video footage conveniently captured by Project Green Light cameras, the men, later identified as Jujuan Alexon Williams, 19, and Charles Marion Brown, 21, demanded Chocolate throw her belongings down and run away. While she was running, Brown opened fire on her with a rifle. She was shot four times in the back and arm.
Police arrived quickly and gave chase. They caught up with the suspects when their vehicle jumped a curb and hit a concrete barrier in the area of Russell and Canfield. Williams was apprehended at the scene while Brown was picked up the next morning.
Brown, who was identified by police as the gunman, has been charged by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy in collaboration with the Fair Michigan Justice Project with various offenses. They include assault with intent to commit murder, assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, armed robbery resulting in serious injury, armed robbery, fleeing and eluding, use of a firearm in connection with a felony, felon in possession of a firearm, and being a habitual offender – a second offense.
Williams is charged with armed robbery resulting in serious injury, armed robbery, use of a firearm in connection with a felony, felon in possession of a firearm, and being a habitual offender – a fourth offense.
“On the eve of the national Transgender Day of Remembrance, this case illustrates the horrific acts of violence to which transgender persons are subject,” said Fair Michigan President Dana Nessel in a news release sent out on Sunday.
Chocolate was taken to Henry Ford Hospital where she is recovering. According to statements made by her family to Fox 2 Detroit, Chocolate has two bullets lodged near her spine and has lost feeling in her left side.
“I spoke with her family because I know her personally,” said Jeynce Mizrahi Poindexter, transgender victims advocate for Equality Michigan. “I told them to tell her that the whole community is concerned about her.”
Mizrahi Poindexter said the timing of the shooting – the 17th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance service honoring those lost to trans violence over the past year – took place later the same day.
“I thought that made the incident even more emotionally taxing,” she said. “We were literally preparing for the TDOR event when we found out. It made it even more emotional for me and took me to a dark place.”
Michelle Fox-Phillips, executive director of the Gender-Identity Network Alliance, felt much the same.
“Why am I not surprised that a trans girl was being shot at?” Fox-Phillips said. “It happens all the time. And it’s very tragic. Thank God her condition has been stabilized and they got two out of three persons involved, which makes it only a matter of time before they get the third.
“We have a target on our backs,” Fox-Phillips continued. “I know that’s the way I feel.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.