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Questions Arise Over Death of Bonaire “Bonnie” Black, Black Trans Teen

Bonaire “Bonnie” Black May Have Been Another 2020 Trans Killing

Activists believe she was murdered but police point to natural causes.

Friends and local activists believe Bonaire "Bonnie" Black may have been yet another violent killing of a transgender person in 2020. Project Q reported the lifeless body of Black, 19, a Black transgender woman, was found around 2:30 p.m. on December 31 in the parking lot of a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, covered in a blanket and with her fist clenched. The local authorities found no evidence of foul play and believe Black died from natural causes, but friends believe she was murdered by a man she was seen arguing with at the party at the hotel.

"Black transgender women and girls like Bonnie experience the highest rates of violent death due to transphobia and misogynoir," David J. Johns, executive director at the National Black Justice Coalition, said in a statement. "What feels like acceptable and normalized forms of violence has deep roots in the ways our communities have been dehumanized for centuries."

According to those who knew her, Black loved doing makeup and was a bit of a creative, being descriebd as an artist, songwriter, and rapper.

Police were called to the Georgian Terrace Hotel on the afternoon of New Year's Eve after the discovery of Black's body on the third floor of hotel's parking structure by a hotel manager and employee. Officer Sharetia Thomas, the responding police officer, wrote in the incident report there was no evidence of foul play at the scene. Investigators currently believe she died of natural causes, but are awaiting toxicological results of the autopsy before commenting further.

"In a case like this, the medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death. If the cause of death is determined to be criminal, APD will investigate," TaSheena Brown, a senior police officer and spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department, told Project Q.

Friends and local activists disagreed, pointing to witnesses her reported seeing Black arguing with a man from the party.

"What we're hearing is that a guy at the party, they got in some kind of argument, and he broke her neck," Marshall Rancifer of the Justice for All Coalition told Project Q.

Last year was the deadliest ever for the transgender community, with a known 44 trans and gender-nonconforming people violently killed.

RELATED | 4 Trans Americans Have Already Been Violently Killed in 2021

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