Suicide by Cop? Police Gun Down Trans Suspect in Armed Standoff

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday June 1, 2020

Police in Tallahassee, Florida shot and killed a transgender suspect in a stabbing death when the suspect pointed a gun at responding officers, local news channel WCTV reports.

The suspect, identified as Natosha "Tony" McDade, 38, had posted at Facebook in advance of the stabbing, saying that they had been beaten by a gang of five men and would be seeking revenge.

McDade also stated in the video that their intention, after killing their attackers, was to force police to shoot and kill them.

McDade stated that they intended to achieve this by aiming a gun at police.

The video, embedded below, is the full post McDade made and has been shared from Facebook.

(WARNING: The video may be disturbing to some readers.)

Said McDade, in the course of a video post, "Me and the law will be having a standoff after I end your... lives."

McDade had previously been in prison for a decade for weapons possession, the report said, and before that had been in prison on two previous occasions.

WCTV reported that "Tallahassee Police identify McDade as a woman, but acquaintances of McDade, as well as a national LGBTQ group, the Human Rights Campaign, have told WCTV McDade identified as a transgender man."

Local newspaper the Tallahassee Democrat reported that McDade's video was overtly threatening, with McDade stating, "I'm gonna kill you."

McDade also said: "I'm living suicidal right now."

Reports said that residents protested the killing, and rumors had it that McDade was unarmed when they were shot.

The slaying, coming in the wake of reports of a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeling on the neck of an African American suspect until well after the suspect stopped moving and subsequently died, struck a raw nerve. The National Black Justice Coalition posted a statement in which the organization's leader, David J. Johns, lamented the loss of African-American lives at the hands of police.

Said Johns:

"In the last 72 hours, there have been multiple hyper-visible examples of the unbearable pain that Black people are too often forced to endure.

"We have also seen attempts to dismiss that pain, ignore the growing body of evidence depicting tragic and repeated acts of violence against Black bodies, and to rush past holding those responsible accountable."

Speaking more specifically to McDade's case, Johns went on to say:

"Prior to being shot and fatally wounded by a police officer, Tony posted a video to his Facebook page recounting a horrific beating he received from five men because he is a Black trans man. This tragic incident should be a reminder that hate crimes against Black LGBTQ/SGL people happen too frequently—often without the national public outcry that our cis and/or heteronormative brothers and sisters receive."

Police Chief Lawrence Revell denied rumors that McDade was unarmed, saying that McDade had pointed a gun at officers after stabbing the unidentified man to death.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.