Court Refuses To Hear Police Department’s Defense Against Transgender Lawsuit

Grace Carr | Reporter

A court refused to hear the New Jersey Police Department’s appeal of a lawsuit involving a transgender woman who maintains that police officers harassed and threatened her while she was held in custody.

The New Jersey Supreme Court declined to hear the police department’s appeal of the suit, guaranteeing that transgender Shakeem Malik Holmes’s case will remain on track for a trial, according to NJ News.

Holmes had been arrested for shoplifting and sued the Jersey City Police Department in 2014, alleging that she was subjected to “demeaning, insulting and threatening comments” in August 2012 by police officers because she is a transgender man. She insists in her suit that the police officers made offensive comments to her while she was in a holding cell for women instead of for men.

“Next time you come in here and you want to be treated like a man, I’ll put my fist down your throat like a f—— man,” the lawsuit alleges that police officers told Holmes. It also posits that they referred to her as “it” rather than “him.”

A Hudson County Superior Court judge originally dismissed the lawsuit in 2015, ruling that the comments weren’t severe enough to constitute any kind of violation of the law. Holmes’s lawyer appealed, after which a separate court insisted that the judge had ruled incorrectly and reinstated the suit.

“It gives our client the opportunity now to have his trial and get in front of a jury and have this tried on the merits,” Holmes’s attorney, Deborah Mains, said Tuesday.

A trial date and hearing have yet to be set.

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