Transgender Woman DeAnna LeTray Sues Police For Alleged Sexual Assault

A transgender woman in upstate New York is suing the local police and sheriff’s office for allegedly mocking her gender identity, using excessive force, and sexually assaulting her during a strip search at the Jefferson County jail.

DeAnna LeTray, 54, says Watertown cops hauled her to the police station after responding to a domestic dispute in September 2017, and that corrections officers harassed and abused her throughout the night. One officer allegedly called her “a man dressed like a woman” and warned, “We can’t let you walk the streets looking and dressed like that,” before arresting her for criminal mischief in the fourth degree.

“The police were called for help. Instead, I was dehumanized. I never want anyone to go through the abuse I experienced from people that were supposed to protect me,” LeTray said in a statement provided to The Daily Beast.

“I was thrown in jail simply because of who I am,” LeTray added. “The Watertown Police Department made fun of my gender identity and misgendered me every step of the way. The police forced me to remove my hair, which I consider a part of myself. When I got to the Jefferson County Jail, I was harassed, mocked, and worse: jail staff strip searched and sexually assaulted me. No person’s gender identity gives police and jail staff the authority to abuse. Watertown law enforcement and Jefferson County Jail staff must be held accountable for their actions.”

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