(Denver, Colorado) – Last Friday, Transgender Law Center and co-counsel from the law firm of King & Greisen LLP filed an amended complaint on behalf of Lindsay Saunders-Velez, a 20-year-old Black transgender woman incarcerated by the Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC). The amended complaint adds a retaliation claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 and alleges that CDOC has undertaken a coordinated campaign of harassment and intimidation in an attempt to dissuade Lindsay from pursuing her case against them.
Lindsay initially filed this case, Saunders-Velez v. Colorado Department of Corrections, last year without an attorney, challenging her treatment in CDOC custody, including CDOC’s abusive policy of incarcerating transgender women in men’s prisons. TLC connected Lindsay to Denver civil rights attorney Paula Greisen of King & Greisen, and later joined as co-counsel. Lindsay’s case was in the news earlier this year when she was raped for the second time in CDOC custody, mere hours after a federal judge denied her request for an injunction to assign her to a safer unit.
“Our client was sent to an adult men’s prison because she resisted being restrained by a male guard after throwing a chair during a therapy session. For this crime, she has now suffered three rapes and had her very existence as a woman consistently and violently denied by the state of Colorado,” said Paula Greisen. “Lindsay has suffered enough.”
Lindsay was pushed out of school and into the criminal punishment system as a young teen. While incarcerated in Colorado’s juvenile system, she lived with other girls, yet, when she went to state prison, CDOC refused to assign her to a women’s prison, thereby placing her at heightened risk of sexual abuse by both staff and other prisoners.
Transgender Law Center Deputy Director Isa Noyola added, “The time to honor and lift up Black trans women’s lives is now. This year alone, we have lost at least 14 Black trans women in a crisis of transphobic murders. At the same time, our governments are incarcerating hundreds of Black trans women in men’s prisons, subjecting them to daily abuse and threats of further physical and sexual violence. We will not rest until we have justice for Lindsay, and for all Black trans women.”
Read the amended complaint here or below.
Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation. https://transgenderlawcenter.org
King & Greisen, an all women owned business, is passionately committed to fighting for the protection of individual’s civil rights and liberties. We firmly believe that no person should be treated differently because of his or her age, gender, race, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation. http://www.kinggreisen.com/