UPDATED: 5:08 a.m. ET, May 29 —
The Tallahassee Police Department identified the person one of its officers shot and killed on Wednesday as Natosha “Tony” McDade, who was 38 years old. While initial reports described the victim as a woman, social media reports have since emerged to claim that McDade was a trans man.
One report contradicted police’s claims that McDade was armed with a gun and pointed it at cops before being shot to death.
View this post on Instagram
another An unarmed BLACK MAN who happens to be of [trans] experience was LYNCHED publicly by the police in Tallahassee YESTERDAY. Since, he has been misgendered by the media in his death. HIS NAME IS TONY MCDADE. THE AMOUNT OF VIOLENCE BLACK TRANS FOLKS EXPERIENCE BOTH BY OUR OWN BLACK COMMUNITY DUE TO SOCIALIZED TRANSPHOBIA, AND THE POLICE IS almost INSURMOUNTABLE. No Justice NO PEACE
Despite the misgendering, police have maintained that McDade was a stabbing suspect and was shot only after pointing a gun at police. However, an interview with an eyewitness who said he encountered McDade moments before the shooting made no mention of a gun.
McDade’s death was one of the latest in a recent string of officer-involved shootings in Tallahassee.
A police officer in Florida on Wednesday shot and killed a Black person after she allegedly stabbed someone to death. The chief of the Tallahassee Police Department confirmed both deaths at a press conference after widespread reports of the shooting on social media. Tallahassee Police Chief Lawrence Revell said the victim had a gun and pointed it at officers. However, an eyewitness contradicted that account.
Revell held a press conference a couple of hours after the shooting and reportedly said that “anger is justified.” He also confirmed the police officer is white.
Revell identified the shooting victim as a stabbing suspect.
The status of the officer’s body camera is uncertain, Revell said, indicating that if any exists it will be made available only after a grand jury hearing.
Revell’s press conference can be viewed below.
The shooting took place around 11 a.m. but no other information was immediately released.
One eye witness who identified himself as a resident of Leon Arms apartments said the victim came to him asking for help because she said someone had been stabbed. The witness said he followed the person and when he rounded a corner, he heard a barrage of gunshots from police officers. He described it as “seven, eight rounds.” The witness also said that he saw police pull up, hop out of their cars and just start shooting. He said no one yelled “freeze” or “hands up.” At no point did the eyewitness ever say the victim had a gun.
The person filming the Facebook video at one point turned the camera on one officer — a white man — and identified him as the shooter.
The video did not provide a reason for the police encounter, but the Tallahassee Democrat reported that the city police department was responding to reports of a stabbing.
The Tallahassee Police Department’s “online map that tracks calls for service shows a pair of ‘active incidents,’ a weapons or firearms call on Holton Street just before 11 and a stabbing 15 minutes earlier on Saxon Street,” the Democrat wrote.
The officers should have all been wearing and activated their body cameras. City officials in 2018 approved the outfitting of all Tallahassee police officers with body cameras. According to a report at the time by the Tallahassee Democrat,
The shooting on Wednesday was at least the third officer-involved shooting in Tallahassee in the past two months. It was also the latest in a recent apparent spike of police killing Black people, including in Minnesota on Monday when George Floyd died after an officer pinned his neck to the ground with his knee. That followed Louisville police shooting Breonna Taylor as they served a warrant to the wrong home.
CORRECTION: An original version of this story incorrectly referred to the shooting victim as a woman. The text has been updated to reflect this correction.
This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.