So. Florida Continues to Seek Justice for Slain Teen

No one has come forward in the murder of teenager Simmie Williams, who was slain a year ago in Fort Lauderdale, but many in the community still continue the fight to find his killer.

BY Michelle Garcia

February 27 2009 12:00 AM ET

King has since become a
vocal advocate against bullying in schools and has become
involved in other LGBT-related causes, like the fight against
Florida's Amendment 2, a ban on state recognition
of same-sex partnerships that passed in November. In
turn, activists like Rajner and Waymon Hudson have partnered
with her through the investigation. Hudson says he has
partnered with King for local outreach in trying to bring
Williams's murderer to justice. He, King, and many others
have canvassed neighborhoods looking for any clues that might
lead to an arrest or further leads for police
questioning.

There is frustration
with locals who will not come forward, since it is rumored that
some people know who fired that fatal shot. Even more
frustrating is that Fort Lauderdale police have yet to make any
arrests.

Hudson said that the
police department's decision to not treat the
attack as a hate crime has detracted from the gravity of the
case. "Those of us in the south Florida community
can't help but feel that it is a hate crime when a
gender-variant young African-American person was shot and
killed in the streets. That definitely made Simmie more of a
target."

Hudson added that while
it is clear that some police officials care about this case,
the effort to find his killer has been deficient. The
investigation has been kept confidential so far to protect the
fragility of the case, public information officer Frank Sousa
said. So far, he told
The Advocate

, every lead that has come in "has proven to be
incorrect."

The initial reward to
find a suspect was $1,000, which is typical for a homicide in
Broward County. As Sousa said, officials are "treating
this homicide as we would treat any other homicide." In
contrast, the reward for information leading to the arrest
of the person who killed a Broward County
sheriff's deputy in August 2007 is currently posted at
$267,000, a cumulative fee from local and federal law
enforcement agencies and the Concerned Citizens of Law
Enforcement, which is putting up $172,000 of the total.

"People in our
community are worth less," said Hudson. "I agree that
killing a cop is a horrible thing, but so is killing a
17-year-old kid. To put that price tag on something that hit
our community so hard, it's really hurtful."

Tags: Crime

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