The arrest of a transgender lady final month in Flagstaff sparked
protests locally and outrage on the dealing with of trans circumstances in
the legal justice system – each throughout her arrest and her time within the
males’s aspect of the jail.
Epona Rose was arrested after an altercation on Aug. 10 at Heritage
Sq. in downtown Flagstaff. Flagstaff law enforcement officials who responded to
the incident discovered two males injured by bear spray, and one had a knife
wound on his hand, in keeping with a police report. However Rose claims she
acted in self-defense after she was attacked and sexually assaulted by
4 to 5 males who used transphobic statements, in keeping with court docket paperwork filed by Rose’s lawyer Ryan Stevens.
Stevens mentioned Rose was housed in isolation on the boys’s aspect of
Coconino County Jail for about three weeks as a consequence of gender-segregation
insurance policies. Stevens mentioned the state of affairs poses questions on how the
justice system handles trans, intersex and nonbinary inmates.
“That was primarily a artistic resolution to maintain her bodily secure
contained in the jail, but it surely’s not a really perfect resolution,” Stevens mentioned in an
interview. “An excellent resolution begins with the Legislature and begins
with a extra practical and progressive understanding of gender and
understanding of how marginalized individuals are already struggling and we
don’t have to make them endure additional.”
Flagstaff neighborhood members confirmed their help for Rose at rallies held on Aug. 17 and Aug. 28, demanding her launch.
Sumayyah Dawud, a Phoenix resident and activist, heard concerning the
rallies and Rose’s case and went to Flagstaff to protest as a result of she had
comparable experiences being arrested as a trans lady throughout her
“What Epona described within the jail doesn’t shock me, as a trans
lady, in any respect,” Dawud mentioned after listening to concerning the case. “The sorts of
issues she described are just about what I’ve skilled within the jails,
Dawud mentioned that police and detention officers might be merciless to trans
people being arrested or held in jails by misgendering them, making
inappropriate feedback or asking concerning the particular person’s genitalia –
issues she skilled after she was arrested in Maricopa County.
Rose was launched from jail following her arraignment listening to on Aug.
28. A grand jury had indicted her on 5 counts, together with two counts
of aggravated assault, one depend of assault, one depend of disorderly
conduct and one depend of threatening and intimidating.
Coconino County Lawyer Invoice Ring mentioned the matter remains to be beneath investigation.
“There are a number of witnesses to be interviewed and, doubtlessly,
different variations of the details at hand,” Ring mentioned in an emailed
assertion. “Witnesses could describe occasions from totally different views
and that isn’t uncommon. In actual fact, it’s fairly widespread. … This case will
be determined solely upon the details and the regulation, nothing extra and nothing
Rose was unavailable for remark. Her subsequent listening to within the case is scheduled for Oct. 9, in keeping with her lawyer.
Stevens mentioned the prosecution and the decide within the case have agreed to
use Rose’s most well-liked identify and pronouns, and have agreed to make court docket
pleadings mirror her most well-liked identify. Nevertheless, Stevens mentioned this isn’t
the norm for many circumstances involving trans and nonbinary people and
that it goes above and past what the regulation requires.
Nevertheless, Dawud and Stevens mentioned much more must be achieved to
shield trans and nonbinary folks from hurt whereas being held in jail or
“Beginning with the police on the road that make the arrests, they
must be respectful of our gender,” Dawud mentioned. “Beginning with not
misgendering us, so, in the event that they get it improper, and someone says, ‘I’m she,
I’m her, I’m a girl,’ they need to respect that, respect their pronouns,
respect these sorts of issues.”
In line with a police report on the case, officers referred to Rose
by a reputation and pronouns she not makes use of when arresting her and in
written studies offered by the Flagstaff Police Division. The
division declined to remark.
However Dawud mentioned Flagstaff neighborhood members appeared to be supportive of and sympathetic to Rose’s case in the course of the rallies.
“A lot of folks would come up and ask questions, after which go away
with flyers as a result of … we had been handing out flyers to teach people,” she
mentioned. “So it was typically a fairly good response.”