Jayne ThompsonAge 33
9 May 2020
Orchard Mesa, Colorado (USA)
TDoR list ref: tgeu/9-May-2020/Jayne Thompson
Jayne was shot and killed by a police officer during what appears to have been a mental health crisis. No charges were filed against the officer concerned.
Jayne Thompson, a 33-year-old transgender woman, was shot and killed by a police officer on May . The shooting made her the 12th trans person to lose their life to fatal violence in 2020, but that fact remained unknown for weeks after Thompson was misgendered by police and local media.
The shooting took place in Orchard Mesa, Colorado after Thompson was reported unresponsive in the vicinity of Orchard Mesa Market, a local grocery store located along a busy intersection [U.S. Highway 50 and 29 Road]. According to details provided to local media by the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, Thompson remained motionless for hours and did not respond when approached by passersby offering assistance.
Following a 911 call, Colorado State Trooper Jason Wade attempted to intervene. That’s when KKCO, a local NBC affiliate, reports that Thompson “began to act aggressively and displayed a 10-inch knife.” “Investigators say that is when the shooting happened,” the outlet claims.
Although the officer was not harmed during the interaction, Thompson was killed.
Thompson’s death coincided with the killings of two trans women in the same week: a 31-year-old Nina Pop in Sikeston, Missouri and 20-year-old Helle Jae O’Regan in San Antonio, Texas, both of whom were stabbed to death. To date, 15 transgender people have lost their lives to fatal violence in 2020, the majority of whom were Black trans women. Thompson, an outlier on the list, was white.
But Thompson’s gender identity was not adequately recognized for weeks after she was misgendered and deadnamed in initial reports regarding the incident. KDVR, a local Fox affiliate, corrected its coverage following updated information from the Mesa County Coroner’s Office, but Thompson is still referred to by a male name and with male pronouns in the Denver Post, Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and KMGH, a local ABC news affiliate.
Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, claimed that Thompson’s treatment by the media and local authorities is “appalling.” She noted in a statement that it took local media outlets “over a month to correctly identify Jayne with her correct name and pronouns.”
Cooper also suggested that Thompson’s death could have been prevented had the officer focused on deescalating the situation.
The situation is not dissimilar to that of Tony McDade, a 38-year-old Black transgender man who was shot and killed on May 27 by Tallahassee police. McDade was reportedly experiencing extreme mental distress in the hours leading up to his death and had struggled with mental illness throughout his life.