The family of a transgender person killed in Syracuse is calling for change after the man convicted of the crime was released on a technicality. Family members of LaTeisha Green were joined by members from the local transgender community on Thursday. As YNN's Katie Gibas reports, they're pushing for legislation to protect people from gender-expression bias.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- LaTeisha Green's mother said her child was no stranger to being bullied.
"Ever since the age she was able to go to school, LaTeisha always had people beating on her, jumping on her for no reason," said Roxanne Green, LaTeisha's mother.
In 2008, that bullying cost LaTeisha her life. Dwight DeLee was convicted of first degree manslaughter as a hate crime. But last week, the appellate court in Rochester overturned that conviction by a vote of four to one. Now, he is a free man.
"One source I talked to close to the case described it as the judges misapplying the legal doctrine and then following it to an absurd end. And to have a person whose guilt, about which there is no doubt, to be out amongst us after only serving a handful of years for his crime is absolutely an absurd result," said Mallory Livingston, co-founder of Transgender Alliance of Central New York.
Green added, "Where is the justice? It makes me not believe in the system at all."
Now, the Green family and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community are worried for their safety.
"This reversal sends a message as well that somebody can essentially get away with killing one of us and killing one of us because they selected us because of who we are," said Barry Gewanter, Director of the Central New York Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Livingston added, "Our kids who had planned to begin classes presenting in their new gender, they and their parents are now worried whether that's a good idea under these circumstances."
That's why the Green family and those in the LGBT community have already spoke with Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler about increased safety measures. They are also urging New York State legislators to act.
"The number one killer of transpeople is not criminals like Dwight DeLee. The number one killer of our people is despair that is often by the discrimination that we face on a daily basis, a discrimination that is completely legal in the state of New York because GENDA, the Gender Expression Non-discrimination Act has not passed in Albany," said Livingston.
GENDA has passed the New York State Assembly several times, but has never made it to the floor of the Senate.
The district attorney's office has filed a motion to appeal the appellate court's decision. A decision is expected within 30 days.
View the full press conference below:
YNN CNY: Family of LaTeisha Green pushes for reversal in the release of Dwight DeLee
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Read the full appellate court document: