What is the legal basis of police violence against trans people?

Source: Kaos GL, “Polisin Translara Uyguladığı Şiddetin Yasal Dayanağı Ne?” (“What is the legal basis of police violence against trans people?”) 02 November 2013, http://www.kaosgl.org/sayfa.php?id=15106

People against transphobia protested police violence in front of the Istanbul Şişli Police Station by responding to the Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association’s call.

A press statement was read at 04:00 PM in front of the Şişli Police Station to support trans sex workers who have been repeatedly attacked for the last 15 days in Şişli and to expose this police violence.

“What is the legal basis of police violence against trans people?”

Ebru Kırancı from the Istanbul LGBTT Solidarity Association read the statement on behalf of the group who held banners that said, “Our right to employment and housing cannot be restricted.”

Kırancı, who stated that trans women have been subjected to violence in Şişli recently, also remarked that “the police attack with bats in their hands as if they are on a witch hunt.”

Kırancı stated that the police beat 8 trans women severely in the last 20 days and continued, “The police who beat up sex workers and use statements like “We do not want to see you around here again. You will not go out to the streets or we will break your legs” continue this inhumane practice. Law-enforcement officers need to answer this: when thinking about society’s safety, do you automatically think about using violence against defenseless trans people? What is the legal basis of this violence?”

“We are transvestites. We are here, get used to it, we are not going anywhere!”

During the statement, protestors shouted slogans, “We are transvestites. We are here, get used to it, we are not going anywhere!” and “So what, we are faggots, we will not disappear if you kill us.”

“We are not taken to the police stations after we get beaten up”

Çağla Ağırgöl from the newspaper Birgün met with victim Cansel Akpınar who told her that she was violated by undercover policemen. Akpınar stated that her friends, regardless of whether they work as sex workers or not, are also subjected to violence.

Akpınar stated that she was both psychologically and physically violated by the police for years and said, “Because the government does not provide an opportunity to work for us, we have to work as sex workers, unfortunately” and continued: “A few days ago, when I was working, three police vehicles approached. Undercover policemen got out of them, beat us up with bats that had iron inside, and swore at us. We were not taken to the police station after we were beaten up because then a report would be required from the hospital. They beat us up in the middle of the street and then leave us. Besides, we are afraid of getting hurt through assault because we have plastic surgery.”

“The complainant, the punisher, the executor is the police!”

“We are stopped by the police when we walk around or when we are working. We get fined through the “Misdemeanors Law” because we allegedly disrupt traffic and disturb the environment. When we ask, “Who is the plaintiff?” the policemen answer, “It’s us.” This is psychological violence. A policeman answered, “Next time it is not going to be like this. If I see you again on the streets, I will deal with you.” Police fine us 83 TL (40 USD). I do not have the income to pay this fine. How am I supposed to pay our dear government? The state encourages us to seek employment as sex workers. But when I go out to the streets to do this, they beat me up.”

“The youth take the police as their example”

Akpınar explained the state and the police’s psychological abuse and argued the necessity for trans women to be given good employment or a specific area. She continued: “They see us as enemies. If citizens hurt us twice, the police hurts us three times. They set a bad example. Youngsters who see us getting beaten up by the police take them as an example and they also violate us. Violence directed towards us has increased dramatically in recent years.”

“The state makes transvestites bad”

“The new commissioner of the Şişli Police Department ordered undercover policemen to “beat” us. The state makes transvestites bad. Besides we are restricted everywhere. We go everywhere in fright. The moment we walk out the door, we are at risk. It is about to be 2015 and we are still afraid to go out. There is this concern: can I make it back home? Ever since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) became the ruling party, violent incidents have increased. We are number one in torture.

“Do I need to be killed in order to claim my rights?”

“I filed a criminal complaint to the prosecution with the report I got from Şişli Etfal Hospital. In the report, there were statements like “light scrapes and tissue damage, no fatal blow.” I was given a report that said, “no cause for death.” Do I need to be killed in order to claim my rights? A document came from the governorship. They sent a document that stated the commissioner did not commit a crime, just applied the standard procedure. Upon this, we filed a criminal complaint to the prosecution again. We are waiting for the lawsuit.

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