Two weeks before Freddie Gray was killed by Baltimore Police officers, Mya Hall took a wrong turn and wound up dead.
Hall, a Black transgender woman, was killed on March 30, 2015, when she and a companion mistakenly took an exit off the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that leads to a National Security Agency campus at Fort Meade, Maryland — as many people have been known to do without incident. In her case, police emptied a hail of bullets into her vehicle even as she was turning around and attempting to leave.
Thirteen days later, Freddie Gray was arrested and suffered extensive injuries — including a severed spinal cord — in the custody of the Baltimore police. Ultimately, those injuries would kill him. Gray’s death on April 19, 2015, sparked weeks of protest and, eventually, an investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Hall’s name and story were rarely seen and heard during the Baltimore Uprising except in tweets posted and at events organized by Black women and trans women. While Hall was not killed by members of the Baltimore Police Department, and the circumstances of her shooting were unique, her death was no less an injustice. A smattering of news stories — many of which misgendered, demonized and exoticized Hall and her community of transgender women in Baltimore’s Old Goucher neighborhood — followed her killing. And then, nothing.
There has been even less conversation, then and now, as we commemorate the second anniversary of the Baltimore Uprising, about Black women’s experiences of policing on the streets of Baltimore.