Ashley’s mother had to find out about her death on Facebook.
The death of Black trans woman Ashley Moore went unreported for four months after police reports and local obituaries misgendered her.
With reports of her death, there have been at least 28 deaths of trans or gender non-conforming people in 2020. The Human Rights Campaign reported at least 27 deaths of trans or gender non-conforming people for all of last year.
Ashley was killed on 1 April in Newark, New Jersey, outside of a YMCA. Police have confirmed that they are now investigating Ashley’s case, but details about her death given to her mother, Starlet Carbin, weren’t consistent.
Starlet told the Out-FM radio show that in a call with police, they said Ashley’s injuries were consistent with a fall from a “great height” and there were also suggestions that she’d been hit by a car.
However, a police report given to Starlet at the end of July said there were ligature marks on her legs, and that she suffered rectal bleeding and her neck was “grossly swollen and disfigured.” The report also had a statement from someone who witnessed Ashley running down the stairs and outside of the building she was killed outside of.
Speaking to the Newark LGBTQ Center Starlet said she generally kept in touch with her daughter through social media, and only found out about her death when she went to post a birthday message, nine days following Ashley’s death. “That’s when I found out that my child had passed nine days prior to that,” she said. “No one contacted me to let me know my child was dead.”
Speaking about the police report that she received, Starlet, who is also a travel nurse, explained: “The description that is in that police report is not that of someone who number 1, fell or was hit by a vehicle. It paints a picture of someone that was held down, tied down, and possibly strangled. That’s me, reading what I’m reading off of the police report.”
Beatrice Simpkins, the executive director of the Newark LGBTQ Center, who spoke with Starlet, contacted the Newark police department, who later obtained traffic footage that showed no accident at around the time of Ashley’s death. “It was mishandled completely and to me, it continues to be mishandled,” Beatrice said. “Even after the discovery of the film, there hasn’t been a lot of followup.
“Part of this is because of the fact that Ashley is a Black trans woman, whose lives are not seen as valuable or worth the attention that someone else’s life may be worth. The institutional attitude was, ‘well, just another dead Black kid on the street’.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up in Ashley’s memory, and seeks to draw attention to Ashley’s murder.