Protests break out over judge who overturned charges for man who admitted pushing trans woman to death

Over 70 people have held a protest in San Antonio, Texas yesterday after a judge overturned manslaughter charges against a man who pushed a trans woman into a river who died from drowning.

Kenne McFadden, 26, was pushed by Mark Daniel Lewis, 20, into the San Antonio River and he pleaded guilty to doing so.

However, when the case was presented by the prosecution the judge overturned Lewis’ manslaughter charges.

Judge Joey Contreras ruled that Lewis’ omission of guilt did not rise to the level of criminal conduct that meant he had violated his probation.

“I think this is a terrible tragedy that occurred,” the judge said.

Kenne McFadden

Lewis, who was seen kissing McFadden, alleged that he pushed her away when she attempted to grope him. He then reportedly did not attempt to rescue her as she drowned in the river.

Misgendering the victim, Lewis said “I didn’t mean to push him into the river. I meant to push him away”.

The defence argued that the response was reasonable under the circumstances, while the prosecution argued that an excessive amount of force was used.

McFadden’s body was floating in the San Antonio River last April.

Joanna McFadden, the victim’s mother collapsed in the courtroom and was taken to a hospital by paramedics after the ruling was made, reported The Houston Chronicle.


Three LGBTQ+ activist groups in the area organised the protests in Crockett Park in the city.

They held signs which read “united against hate” as well as boards provided by HRC.

Talking to the Rivard Report, Transgender Education Network of Texas spokesperson Emmett Schelling, said that they hope the protest will draw the attention of elected officials to McFadden’s case.

“We’re hoping that we’ll see an openness and willingness from our elected officials, from our district attorney’s offices, from judges to learn about the transgender community, the violence that faces us far too often,” Schelling said.

Monica Roberts, of TransGriot, told News 4 that Kenne represents “me and any other black trans woman”.


An anonymous activist denounced the ruling for failing to give justice to McFadden.

“Transgender women of colour and black trans women are being murdered at an alarming pace.

“When this happens in our city we expect to see justice served.

“We demand justice for Kenne. We refuse to go away and will show up to make our voices heard,” they said.

As well as protesting for justice for McFadden, activists were also drawing attention to the fact that Judge Contreras is up for re-election in November.

Speaking at the protest, Joanna McFadden called on other parents to “love your children”

“Its time for parents to accept their children for who they are,” she told crowds before leading a march.