US: Two trans people sue New Jersey police departments for ‘humiliation’

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Two trans people are suing separate New Jersey police departments, both alleging that they were discriminated against.

According to NJ News, transgender woman Amira Gray, 26, from Maryland, is suing North Bergen Police, after an incident last year.

The lawsuit says she was pulled over on September 7 by Officer Alberto Berovides, and told her license, which was in her given name, was invalid.

She claims that authorities in Maryland, New York and New Jersey all confirmed that her license was in good standing.

Despite this, a tow truck was called to remove her car, and a second officer arrived, who Gray said laughed about the situation.

When she began to have breathing difficulties, she alleges she was denied medical attention.

A month later, she was acquitted of driving with a suspended license and having tinted windows and pleaded guilty to a license plate violation.

A spokesperson told NJ News: “The North Bergen Police Department follows a strict non-discrimination policy.

“The NBPD has initiated an internal investigation into this matter and we cannot comment further while it is ongoing.”

In a separate case, Shakeem Malik Holmes, 31, is suing Jersey City Police Department.

He was arrested in 2012 and accused of providing false information to officers when giving his current name.

The case states that he was forced into a women’s jail, after an officer said: “Did you have surgery down there yet? … So you’re actually a woman? I have to put you with the females because that’s what you are.”

Department of Corrections spokesman Matthew Schuman told NJ “is that an inmate will be housed with other inmates of the same sex unless and until a sex change occurs”.

Attorney Kevin Costello said: “Transgender people are especially vulnerable to violence, forms of emotional and financial blackmail, and humiliation, often at the hands of those to whom the public extends the greatest trust … and greatest responsibility.

“These suits are about the dignity of the transgender person in the eyes of New Jersey’s people, and its tradition of civil justice.”

Both plaintiffs seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, costs and attorney fees.