UPDATE: Friday, July 21, 2017, 9:20 a.m. EST—King has reportedly been released from solitary confinement. Read more here.
There’s someone you should know about.
Her name is Eyricka King (Thompson), and she’s a Black transgender woman who was incarcerated at Franklin Correctional Facility in the state of New York. She’s also been a victim of verbal, physical and sexual abuse by inmates and sergeants, and according to a letter written by King—which took multiple attempts to reach the hands of her chosen mother and details the horrific account of three sergeants assaulting her after she called for their help—she’s been denied medical attention for her injuries and forced into solitary confinement.
It’s another example of how the “justice” system fails to protect Black lives—more specifically, the lives of Black trans women, who are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in male prisons than the general population.
According to The New York Times, “Black transgender people have inordinately high rates of extreme poverty, homelessness, suicide attempts and imprisonment; nearly half those surveyed for the National Transgender Discrimination Survey had been imprisoned, compared with 16 percent of the study’s 6,450 participants.”
59% report sexual assaults.
In a video shared by Slay TV, Kelly Harrison, King’s chosen mother, sends an urgent plea for help.
“My daughter was brutally beat by officers,” she says. “I have seen it done to other transgenders in jail. . .They are beat, they are dragged out the house, thrown in the back of a van, beat again all the way to the box, denied medical treatment. . .I am not going to let this be swept underneath the rug with my daughter.”
A representative from the office of Jason Effman, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Coordinator, told CASSIUS on Thursday: “We are aware of the reported harassment toward Ms. King. The department is addressing the situation. Ms. King is not currently at Franklin Correctional Facility, and the reports are being actively investigated.”
The DOCCS Office of Special Investigations could not comment on the investigation, but stated: “Ensuring the safety of individuals at our facilities is our highest priority. There is zero tolerance for violence within the facilities and anyone engaged in misconduct will be disciplined and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Franklin Correctional Facility declined to comment for this story.
“The fight is far from over,” Harrison said to Facebook followers during a Thursday afternoon live stream. Since Harrison’s initial video went viral, King’s received medical treatment for a breast implant that was ruptured when she was attacked by officers on June 30. According to Harrison, however, King is still under 23-hour lockdown in solitary confinement.
“The Legal Aid Society issued the following statement today as defense counsel currently representing Eyricka Thompson King. The Legal Aid Society stands with our client Eyricka King, a Black transgender woman who has been experiencing transphobic violence and retaliation at Franklin Correctional Facility.
A few months ago, Ms. King reported incidents of sexual harassment and threats at Franklin Correctional Facility based on her gender identity. Recently, Ms. King was ordered to return to the same dormitory where the incarcerated male person who had sexually harassed and threatened her was housed, and was then threatened with physical violence. Instead of being protected when she refused to enter this dorm, she tells us she was assaulted, subjected to transphobic slurs, placed in a form of solitary confinement for refusing to enter the dorm, and denied medical attention for the injuries she sustained.
We immediately notified the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (‘DOCCS’) about the incident and are fighting to get Ms. King transferred to another facility, as it is no longer safe for her to be housed at Franklin. We are also demanding that she be given a time cut for her time in Keeplock because of the biased disciplinary action that was taken against her as a transgender woman.
‘Trans women are too often subjected to sexual and physical violence when housed in male prisons and Eyricka King’s case is the latest example. We demand that DOCCS take immediate action to ensure that Ms. King is not subjected to any further abuse or retaliation,’ said Ying-Ying Ma, Staff Attorney at The Legal Aid Society and Counsel for Eyricka King. ‘We will keep the community updated on her case and welcome the continued support for Ms. King at this time.'”
We’ll continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, here’s how you can help:
1. Share SLAY TV’s video.
2. Read King’s letter.
3. Spread awareness with the hashtag: #JusticeForEyricka
4. Sign this petition.
5. Call the below offices to demand Eyricka King (DIN: 16A4486) be moved to a facility where she can be in protective custody and not solitary confinement:
518-445-6176 Health Services Office in Albany (to report cases where a person is not being given appropriate medical attention)
518-457-3955 Jason Effman (Head of PREA in Albany)
518-457-2653 Office of Special Investigations
518-474-1010 Office of the Inspector General