Yvonne McNeal, a 57-year-old homeless lesbian, was shot and killed on Sunday after she refused to drop a pair of knives she was holding outside the New Providence Residence, a shelter for women women with mental illness or addictions.
Officers say they ordered McNeal, who was involved in an altercation outside the shelter, to drop the knives—when she refused, they shot her multiple times.
The nonprofit group Queers for Economic Justice, which led a march on Wall Street in honor of McNeal Thursday night, claims the use of lethal force was unnecessary.
“Yvonne’s killing underscores the reality that the police cannot be relied on to respond compassionately to low-income LGBTQ people when it concerns issues of safety in our communities,” said a spokesperson. “It cannot be accepted that calling the police can be deadly for low-income LGBTQ New Yorkers.”
Its unclear how much of an imminent threat McNeal, who allegedly walked with a cane, presented or whether nonlethal alternatives were available. The NYPD says its investigation is ongoing.