New York City police have arrested a man they say is a prime suspect in the killing of a transgender man who died nine days after he was found beaten unconscious on a Manhattan sidewalk late last month.
Kenneth Bostick, 59, died Thursday at Bellevue Hospital, DNA Info reports. He had sustained a severe head injury; the New York City medical examiner said Monday the injury was the result of a beating and ruled her death a homicide, according to the site. He was found the night of April 25 outside a Five Guys restaurant in the Chelsea neighborhood, and police and prosecutors say he had been beaten with a pipe.
Police Friday arrested Joseph Griffin, 26, for a separate offense, the New York Daily News reports today. Charges against him regarding Bostick's death are pending, but authorities said he is the prime suspect. Security video showed a man standing over Bostick following the attack, and shortly thereafter, witnesses saw Griffin behaving strangely, rushing into traffic, and jumping onto a taxi, smashing its windshield, according to the Daily News. He was arrested in connection with the taxi incident.
“He was arrested in the subway station only half a block from the location of the assault, informed the detectives who arrested him that location was his home,” Assistant District Attorney Sarah Marquez told the paper. “Other circumstantial evidence ties the defendant to the assault, and the people expect the defendant to be charged with that crime as soon as an eyewitness to the crime returns from a trip out of the country.”
In court, Griffin's attorney, Nalia Siddiqui, said he was hit by the taxi and fell onto it. She did not address Bostick's death. Griffin is being held on $25,000 bond.
It is unclear if Griffin and Bostick knew each other, but they lived in the same shelter complex for a time in 2015, the Daily News reports. Griffin has been arrested 28 times, according to the paper.
Bostick is the 10th known transgender victim of a homicide in 2017. Last year was the deadliest on record for transgender Americans, with 27 reported homicides. The actual number killed in any year is likely much higher, as some trans victims are misgendered by police or media, and some deaths not reported at all.
Initial reports identified Bostick as a transgender woman and used a female name for him. However, a social services provided who worked with Bostick has identified him to the Village Voice as a trans man and noted that he was widely misgendered in news reports.