Trans woman Jayne Thompson killed in the US by police during a mental health crisis

Ted Eytan via Flickr

Jayne Thompson, a 33-year-old white trans woman, was fatally shot in Mesa County, Colorado.

Thompson was killed by a Colorado State Patrol trooper on 9 May, and news of her tragic death wasn’t known to LGBTQ+ media until recently due to several local outlets misgendering and dead-naming her in their original reports.

According to The Denver Post, Thompson was shot after exhibiting “odd behaviour” near a grocery store called the Orchard Mesa Market, where she had been standing still in the same position for a “couple of hours”.

When a pedestrian checked in on Thompson to make sure if everything was okay, she didn’t respond or “acknowledge their presence.” Jason Wade, a trooper, was later called to the scene after authorities had been contacted.

When Wade arrived, Thompson reportedly started to “act aggressively” and “displayed a 10-inch knife” which led to Wade pulling out his gun and shooting her in the torso multiple times. She was later pronounced dead.

“In reading about the fatal shooting of Jayne Thompson by a Colorado State Trooper, two things become clear,” said Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.

“First, it is appalling that it took the media over a month to correctly identify Jayne with her correct name and pronouns. Transgender and gender non-conforming people deserve dignity in death as well as life.

“Secondly, it is clear that Jayne was in crisis when she was approached by Colorado State Patrol. When members of the community need help, the expectation is to protect and serve and not to be killed.”

Thompson is the 15th known transgender person to be killed in the United States this year, and the second to be killed by law enforcement after Tony McDade, a 33-year-old Black trans man who was murdered by officers in June.

Speaking to Them, Samwel Leopardi – one of Thompson’s close friends – called her “an amazing person” who was “thoroughly loved and cared for”.

Related: Remembering the trans individuals who have been killed in the US this year.

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