Tazed transgender woman wants a different type of justiceAround the City Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Brooke Fantelli, the transgender woman who was tazed by a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ranger, has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the BLM for the incident that occurred Oct. 16, 2011 near Ramona, Calif. Fantelli, 44, is an off-road vehicle race car driver, and one of her racing vehicles was being used as a backdrop for a photo shoot in the desert area near her Ramona home.
In filing the suit, Fantelli not only wants a fair settlement but what she describes as a different type of justice as she feels transgender people are being treated differently by law enforcement agencies.
“I was wronged,” Fantelli told San Diego LGBT Weekly. “I was jailed wrongly. I was beaten down for no other reason than hate.”
Fantelli continued, “What I want everybody to realize, and that is a good thing, is that I’ve made it through this and, of course, I want justice and a fair settlement. But I also want a different justice and that’s what I’m asking for. I am trying to get something like “Fantelli Law” which would mean that everybody in a law position would have to go to some sort of school to learn about transgender people; that we are nothing other than human beings and that there is no reason to treat us in action the way I was. All they need to do is their job and nothing other. I was just one of the lucky few that got a video of it.”
The raw video of the tazing, exclusively published by San Diego LGBT Weekly last November, showed Fantelli being tazed twice by BLM Ranger J. Peters. The video indicates that she was tazed the first time while she was standing before the officer with her hands up in the air, and wounds and video indicated the second tazer shot was in her crotch while she was on the ground.
Fantelli alleges she was tazed by Ranger Peters because although she presents and lives as a woman, her identification at the time had not been updated to identify her as female.
The complaint stated that Fantelli was treated respectfully by the ranger until she handed him her identification which listed her as Rodd Fantelli. The complaint then alleges that the ranger asked Fantelli if she used to be a boy, and when she answered yes he began referring to her with male pronouns and calling her “dude,” then later calling her “it.”
After the tazing, Fantelli was held in a men’s jail overnight for public drunkenness and resisting arrest. However, charges were never filed over the incident.
When contacted the BLM did not return calls for comment on the lawsuit.
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