Arrest warrant issued in death of Philadelphia trans woman

Philadelphia authorities issued an arrest warrant for Akhenaton Jones, a male acquaintance of Dominique 'Rem'mie' Fells, who was found murdered.

A protester wearing a mask holds a sign that says, “TRANS BLACK LIVES MATTER” with a flag on the sign among the large crowd in Foley Square. (Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images)

The family of a Black trans woman found dead in the Schuylkill River is one step closer to justice.

Philadelphia authorities issued an arrest warrant for Akhenaton Jones, 36, on Tuesday. Jones is a male acquaintance of the victim, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, 27, according to local news outlet WPVI.

The dismembered body of Fells was found floating near Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philadelphia on June 8. Her body was bruised and her legs were severed from her body.

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“She was a person who could light up a room even when she was being quiet,” Fells’ father told NBC10. “The one thing that stood out about her is she did her own thing with confidence, which as a family we all embraced.”

The murder of Black trans women has been labeled an epidemic. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 26 Black trans or gender non-conforming women were killed in 2019. This year ,over a dozen Black trans women have been killed in America.

“We are reminded with this, and countless other painful losses—especially within our transgender communities—that there is much left to do until we achieve full equality, respect, and support for us all,” the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs said in a statement. “The murder of transgender people—especially those of color—is truly an epidemic and a crisis that we cannot afford to allow to persist any further.”

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As support for the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum in the country, activists are seeking to remind the community to include trans men and women.

A protest in New York earlier this week drew out thousands of people protesting anti-transgender violence in the U.S.

“We can’t just talk about trans people when they’re dying,” Eliel Cruz, one of the co-organizers of the event and director of communications at NYC Anti-Violence Project, told CNN. “But what are we doing actively and intentionally to create space for them to be safe and well?”

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