When a woman gets arrested for being transgender and goes to jail, she’s not alone
Posted On July 21, 2021
In the early hours of February 25, 2019, a woman named Zatanna Young Justice was detained at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport by federal authorities.
The arrest came after she refused to stop wearing a wig and makeup that she had bought in the New York City area, and that she was wearing during a court hearing.
In addition to being charged with refusing to remove her wig, Young Justice also was charged with assaulting a federal officer who had tried to arrest her, and with assaulting the FBI agent who had stopped her.
Young Justice’s arrest comes just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down a provision of the Voting Rights Act that required jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination to obtain federal approval for new voting procedures.
In February 2019, the Supreme Justices ruled that jurisdictions with such histories were still subject to the Voting Restrictions Act, which still requires approval from the federal government.
In Young Justice, the Justice Department argues that her detention violated her First Amendment right to free speech.
In a statement, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, who heads the Justice Dept., said the Department will vigorously defend the First Amendment rights of Zatana Young Justice.
“This woman has shown a willingness to stand up for her right to speak and stand up against hate speech.
Her conviction is a reminder that all Americans can stand up to hate speech and that the Supreme court is not powerless to defend them,” Perez said.
“As we have said before, there is no place in America for hate speech, and we will defend her right in court.”
Young Justice had been a registered voter in New York, and she was charged in New Jersey with three felony counts of assault on a federal official.
In New Jersey, she was arrested and charged with resisting arrest.
She was released on her own recognizance.
A New Jersey judge also ordered Young Justice to pay a $500 fine.
A court hearing to determine Young Justice will be held on March 16, 2019.
In response to the charge of assault, Young’s lawyer, Robert Capers, told reporters that he would “defend Zatiana’s First Amendment claim against the federal authorities.”
Young justice’s attorney, Paul Browne, said that Young Justice does not oppose voting rights for transgender people.
“We’re just saying that she has the right to be treated the same as everyone else,” Browne said.
The Justice Department also defended Young Justice for refusing to wear makeup during her arrest.
In its statement, the DOJ said that while Young Justice has a right to wear her makeup, the Department “does not believe that she did so to incite her arrest or to threaten the safety of the Federal Bureau of Prisons officers who arrested her.”
In addition, the department said that it does not believe Young Justice acted in a threatening or abusive manner.
“While the Department does not comment on pending litigation, we believe that the charges laid against Ms. Young have been thoroughly investigated, and it is our belief that she is not guilty of any crime,” the DOJ’s statement said.
After Young Justice refused to remove the wig and put it on, the police officer who stopped her “threatened to use a Taser on Ms. Justice, but Ms. Attorney General declined to comply,” the Justice department said.
During Young Justice ‘s detention, she asked to speak with a supervisor.
She said that the supervisor was not available to help, so Young Justice went to the police station and called her boss.
“I called the chief, who said he would give her the information she needed,” Young Justice told the New Jersey Times.
“She then told me the supervisor would have to come over to the station to meet with her.”
The Justice department says Young Justice did not resist arrest.
The New York Daily News reports that Young justice has “no record of criminal activity.”
Young’s detention comes just a few days after the Justice Departments first transgender Justice Department staffer, LaToya Brown, was released from jail in New Orleans after she was accused of assaulting a deputy sheriff.
Brown has been charged with felony assault and battery.
In the video released by the Justice, she is seen trying to take her handcuffs off as the deputy attempts to arrest Brown.
Brown is heard asking for her attorney, who is also in the video, to call 911.
“It is important to note that she may not have a history or history of violent behavior,” Browne told the Times.
In his statement, Brown’s lawyer said that his client “never attacked the deputy, and he does not know her.”
“Her only involvement in the incident was that she called the police,” Brown’s attorney said.
Brown’s case has also drawn attention to a recent Department of Justice report that found transgender individuals are disproportionately charged in sexual crimes.
In July 2019, DOJ released the results of a survey that showed transgender people are more likely to be victims of sexual assault and sexual assault in prison than the general population.
In that report, a majority of transgender respondents said they were sexually assaulted