Suspect in Trans Woman’s Killing in Custody

Prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office expect to charge a 26-year-old man, Joseph Griffin, in the April 25 killing of Brenda Bostick, a 59-year-old transgender woman who succumbed to injuries from a “blunt impact” blow to her head on May 4, Gay City News has learned.

Bostick, a resident of the Bowery Residents' Committee homeless shelter at 127 West 25th Street, was attacked at 343 Seventh Avenue, between 29th and 30th Streets, at about 10:30 p.m. on April 25 and was taken by EMS to Bellevue Hospital, where she died nine days later.

In a May 7 email, Julie Bolcer, a spokesperson for the city’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner, wrote, “The cause of death is complications of blunt impact injury of head. The manner of death is homicide.”

Police describe assault as “dispute between neighbors,” not a hate crime

Griffin was arrested shortly after Bostick was taken to Bellevue on a felony criminal mischief complaint of jumping onto the hood of a taxi near 352 Seventh Avenue, across the street from where the victim was found, and smashing in its windshield.

Griffin was arraigned on that charge on May 6, with bail set at $25,000, though prosecutors asked for bail of $250,000.

Griffin’s is expected to be charged in the Bostick killing soon.

According to police, Griffin is homeless, though some press reports say he once lived at the Bowery Residents Committee shelter, as well. The NYPD said the killing is not being investigated as a hate crime but rather as a “dispute between neighbors.”

At the time the woman’s death was announced, Corey Johnson, the out gay city councilmember who represents Chelsea, released a statement saying, “I am saddened and angered to learn that a transgender woman who was found by paramedics with head injuries in Chelsea has passed away… There must be zero tolerance for acts of violence, particularly against transgender individuals, who are disproportionately targeted by hate crimes and discrimination.”

Shelby Chestnut, director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, released a statement saying, “In these tragic moments we must remember it’s on all of New York to ensure we end violence against LGBTQ people, especially transgender women of color.”

Naila Siddiqui, Griffin’s Legal Aid attorney, did not return a call seeking comment.

People with information about the attack on Bostick can contact the NYPD at 800-577-8477 or in Spanish at 888-577-4782.