We now know more details about the death of 21-year-old Islan Nettles, the transgender woman who was assaulted in Harlem last Saturday night and died of “blunt impact head injuries” on Thursday. Sources told the New York Post that the altercation began when Paris Wilson, the 20-year-old man charged in the attack, “made a pass at Nettles and was shocked to learn she was not born a woman,” which “humiliated [him] in front of his crew.” “Nettles and her friends] were called faggots, they were called he-shes, she-males, things of that nature,” Nettles’s mother told WABC.
Eventually, Wilson punched Nettles in the head “with a closed fist,” WPTV reports. Even after Nettles fell to the ground, Wilson continued to hit her in the face, and the police found her “unconscious…with a swollen shut eye and blood on her face.” Though Wilson made bail this week on two counts of third-degree assault and one count of second-degree harassment, the Post reports that the Manhattan DA’s office is reviewing the incident to see if Wilson can be charged with homicide. According to Christine Quinn, the DA and the police are also “investigating this as a potential hate crime.” She added, “Now, they’re going to continue to do that investigation but we have another situation that there is a very real possibility that someone’s life is over, over because people didn’t like who they were.”