TDoR 1970 / 1970 / March / 07 / Laverne Turner

Laverne Turner

Age 21

7 Mar 1970
Los Angeles, California (USA)

TDoR list ref: Mar 1970/Larry Lavern Turner

Laverne Turner

Laverne was a sex worker who was shot by the Los Angeles Police Department for "walking while trans".

In March 1970, an article appeared in the Los Angeles Times about the increase in Gay marches and protests and another suspicious homicide. On March 7, two days before the anniversary of Howard Efland’s murder, LAPD gunned down Larry “Laverne” Turner, who the Times describes as ‘a twenty year old black male transvestite dressed in female clothing, who was shot once while being arrested for prostitution outdoors near 56th Street and Broadway.’ The police claimed it was in self-defense.

The murder took place on 42nd and Central Ave.

A Los Angeles Police Department plainclothes officer, Carlton Olson, picked up a female prostitute. Olson then joined other officers and ordered Turner out of the car. According to the L.A.P.D., Turner proclaimed, “Oh God, I can’t go to jail!” and shot at officers with a .22 caliber pistol concealed at [her] waist. One officer returned fire, hitting Turner in the chest.

Witnesses tell another story. They saw Turner, who they identified as a woman, running away from police, not returning fire. Witnesses even reported that Turner was handcuffed by police after [she] was shot.

According to an article by Angela Douglas in Come Out! Magazine shortly after their deaths, Laverne (Larry) Turner and Ginny Gallegos were both killed for resisting arrest and in Laverne’s case for being dressed in “feminine attire.”

Laverne had been in service with the U.S. Navy but had been discharged because she had an antipathy towards weapons.

Report added: 24 Feb 2019. Last updated: 10 Oct 2021

Trigger warning

This site contains reports of violence against transgender people, and links to detailed reports which contain graphic imagery.

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