Newark police re-examine woman’s death, change LGBTQ policy
NEWARK — The death of a transgender woman whose body was found in April is being re-examined by investigators after questions were raised about the police department's initial handling of the case.
The case has also prompted policy changes to ensure proper gender identification on city police reports.
In a written statement on Aug. 13, Mayor Ras Baraka promised full transparency in the case of 26-year-old Ashley Moore, whose body was recovered outside the Newark YMCA on April 1.
Moore's family was not notified by police, according to a GoFundMe campaign setup to bring awareness to her case.
Moore's mother, Starlet Carbins, found out about her daughter's death when she went to wish her a happy birthday on Facebook, according to campaign organizer Jasmin Singer, who setup the online effort to also raise funds for the Newark LGBTQ Community Center.
Baraka said while he believed police followed all policies and procedures, "the handling of the case has raised concerns of her family and the LGBTQ community."
He said that while the death was not ruled a homicide, he and Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose both agreed the case should be re-examined with the prosecutor's office.
NJ.com reported that Moore was initially wrongly gendered in a police report about her death.
Now, there will be an LGBTQ option next to the gender identity box on Newark Police reports.
An “Ashley Moore Amendment” has been added to the city's existing LGBTQ policy in order to require police to call local LGBTQ organizations and advocates for assistance when there are informational gaps, such as identifying next of kin.
The city also has setup a help hotline — 973-733-8809 —for the LGBTQ community if someone needs additional assistance after contacting the police. The number is being operated through the Shani Baraka Women’s Resource Center.
The mayor noted that the city has listened to LGBTQ advocates and used their input to draw up a new police policy announced last year. The state Attorney General's Office adopted a similar LGBTQ policy in November, which was slated to take effect in June.