The fatal shooting of a black trans man in Tallahassee, Florida, last week has sparked local protests, while mass protests and violence continue to erupt in cities nationwide following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
Natosha “Tony” McDade, 38, was shot on May 28 after he pointed a gun at an officer, according to a City of Tallahassee Police Department news release.
McDade has been described as gender-nonconforming, with some witnesses using she/her pronouns, while on his Facebook page McDade used he/him pronouns.
Police were responding to reports of a stabbing in the Saxon Street area and soon found McDade, who matched the description, and saw he was armed with a handgun, according to the news release. Police say McDade “made a move consistent with using the firearm against the officer,” who then shot and killed McDade.
Authorities believe McDade fatally stabbed 21-year-old Malik Jackson outside Jackson’s mother’s apartment, the Tallahassee Democrat reported. The story is still developing.
Here is what we know so far about McDade and the shooting:
There Are Few Details So Far About the Stabbing & McDade’s Confrontation With Police, but the Department Says the Shooting Was Not Racially Motivated
According to police, the stabbing took place around 10:45 a.m. Witness reports initially described a black female suspect, according to local public radio outlet WFSU. Police Chief Lawrence Revell told reporters at the scene that witnesses claimed McDade was armed with a pistol and a knife, WFSU reported.
Jackson’s family held a vigil on Friday night, according to local ABC outlet WTXL. Jackson’s mother, Abigail, told the outlet that police found her son lying in some nearby grass with a fatal stab wound. His father, Antonio Brown Sr., said he didn’t believe Malik and McDade had any dealings with each other “directly.”
According to WFSU, McDade’s marked the third shooting by police in Tallahassee since December 2019. The Tallahassee Community Action Committee has organized several protest events and asked that Revell step down as chief.
According to the police department, the officer who fired on McDade has been placed on administrative leave while an internal investigation is conducted.
The Florida Police Benevolent Association has filed an injunction in Leon County Civil Court asking that the officer remain anonymous for safety reasons. In the court papers provided to Heavy, the association alleges that the officer was “ambushed” by McDade, who then pointed a gun at the officer at close range.
McDade kept reaching for the gun after he was on the ground, the court papers allege.
The PBA said witnesses at the scene of the shooting threatened the officer and that, “as the victim of a violent crime,” he deserves anonymity during the investigation.
Delilah Pierre of the Tallahassee Community Action Group told WTXL that there still has been “no real accountability … and we still don’t know the name of the police officer who murdered the black woman today.”
Revell told the Tallahassee Democrat that he engaged with protesters last weekend.
“Those types of tough conversations have to occur,” he said. “The passions and the anger that is there are real and those have to be heard, and then action has to be taken on those … These are real issues we can’t keep kicking down the road.”
The Tallahassee Police Department’s public information officer had not responded to a request from Heavy seeking comment as of Tuesday afternoon.
McDade Said in a Facebook Live Video That Day He Expected to Die ‘In a Shootout’
McDade posted a Facebook Live video on the day of the stabbing — and his fatal shooting by police. In the video, McDade claimed to have been “jumped” by five people and showed a bloody wound on his elbow to the camera.
Occasionally crying, McDade said, “It took five of you to kick and punch and have me on the ground in a fetal position, and I came out looking the same way I was before I went in that fetal position.”
McDade also said he planned to commit suicide by pulling a gun on a police officer.
“Before I kill myself through a shootout — cause that’s what’s gonna happen,” McDade says, “I’m gonna pull it out … They’re just gonna shoot, so that’s what I’m pushing for.”
“I don’t wanna be here on Earth,” McDade later added in the one hour-plus video.
McDade also referenced time spent in federal prison in the Facebook Live video.
Public records indicate that McDade had several felony convictions, including a charge of resisting a police officer without violence as a juvenile in July 2000. He had been released from a federal prison in January after serving a 10-year sentence on weapons charges, according to federal Bureau of Prisons records.
A number of people who claim to have been friends with McDade have commented on the video. As of Tuesday morning, there were more than 3,000 comments.
“I went through so much in there because of my own choices and you always had my back and showed me love,” one person wrote.
Another claimed that the person police say McDade stabbed was involved in the earlier assault described by McDade in the video.
Family friend Shani Angela organized a GoFundMe effort, which has since been closed, on behalf of McDade’s mother, Wanda. Angela raised $124,485 to go toward funeral expenses and grief counseling for McDade’s family.
Jackson urged the community to pray not just for her but for McDade’s mother.
“Pray for Ms. Wanda, because she’s going through it. She lost her child as well,” she told WTXL.