The vigil for Islan Nettles, who died last week after being beaten into a coma and being declared brain dead, drew a crowd of hundreds to Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem. Nettles was a 21-year-old transwoman who was pursuing a career in fashion.
On August 17 Islan was walking with a transwoman friend when they encountered a group of men outside a Harlem police precinct station. One of the men, Paris Wilson, 20, had recently friended Islan on Facebook. Wilson reportedly began flirting with Nettles, until one of his friends yelled that she had been born a man. The friends began teasing Wilson until he attacked her. As he was beating her, the “friends” shouted anti-trans and anti-gay epithets. He continued to pound on her face after her head had been driven into the sidewalk. Wilson was arrested after police finally arrived. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and released on $2,000 bail.