A transgender inmate at the D.C. Department of Corrections Central Detention Facility is accusing a corrections officer of making a death threat against her an a transgender rights activist.
A D.C. Department of Corrections officer is under investigation for making death threats against two women, one of them a transgender inmate.
The officer allegedly threatened to kill the transgender inmate and an activist that works with transgender individuals after the pair complained to authorities that the officer was harassing the inmate and behaving in a trans-phobic manner.
Metropolitan police are looking into the threat, which the transgender woman says occurred at the Department of Corrections' Central Detention Facility on D Street SE. "You're going to threaten someone's life in the District of Columbia, we take it very seriously," says Assistant Police Chief Peter Newsham.
"We went over to the jail and interviewed a number of people and I think we're gathering information at this point," Newsham says. "I can't tell you what the final outcome will be."
Activist Earline Budd, who presents sensitivity training courses on transgender issues to corrections officers, was the other target of the alleged death threat, although she did not hear the threat herself.
"I did not directly receive the threats," Budd says. "It was indirectly that I was told about the threats."
Budd declined to identify the officer that made the threat but says it came from a 20-year veteran of the corrections department that has participated in one of her sensitivity courses. Budd adds that jail authorities have reached out to her.
"What I do know, which I got from a conference call, is that the Department of Corrections has a zero tolerance against any type of discrimination against transgendered inmates in the jail," she says.
Corrections authorities would not comment on the specifics of the case, but in a statement to WAMU, say the officer has been reassigned pending the outcome of their inquiry.
This is now the third investigation of a D.C. law enforcement officer for violence against a transgender woman in recent months.
Metropolitan Police Officer Kenneth Furr now sits in that same corrections facility, accused of shooting five people inside a car while off duty and in plainclothes earlier this month. Furr wounded three people, two of them transgender women.
And another MPD officer is under investigation for severely beating a transgender woman, also while off duty and in plainclothes, according to activists.