Homeless Lesbian Killed by NYPD


A homeless 57-year-old lesbian who walked with a cane has been shot dead by New York police as she tried to re-enter the shelter she lived in.

Yvonne McNeal was a member of a support group run by Queers for Economic Justice (QEJ) at a local shelter for homeless women and transgender men. Last night, October 6, QEJ marched on Wall Street in Yvonne’s honor.

According to QEJ, Sunday October 1, after an altercation at the homeless shelter on E 45th street that moved to the sidewalk outside, police shot Yvonne McNeal, killing her.

Police say that they ordered McNeal to drop two knives, and when she did not, they shot her multiple times. QEJ say they could have used non-lethal deterrents.

A local resident told NY1:

“She never bothered nobody. But she had an argument when I went to the movies. I saw her arguing earlier on 43rd Street with her girlfriend, on the phone. And when I came back from the movie theater, she told me that they shot her and everything. So I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’”

Said QEJ:

“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. At QEJ, we are asking again how many potentially dangerous situations every year have to end up in a police shooting? It cannot be accepted that calling the police can be deadly for low Income LGBTQ New Yorkers.”

“I feel that as homeless people, we don’t have a justice system, said Gykyira Rodriquez, a member of QEJ’s LGBTQ support group at the New Providence Women’s shelter.

QEJ say that the police’s use of lethal force is part of a:

Repeated pattern of racism and disregard for human life when the police are dealing with issues of violence because we are poor, from communities of color and may also be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or perceived as such.”

A report released last year [PDF] by QEF’s Welfare Warriors Collective in conjunction with the Graduate Center of the City University of New York found that calling or interacting with the police can be dangerous: 19 percent of 171 low income LGBTGNC survey responders in NYC had been physically assaulted in the past two years. Among those who were currently homeless, the number jumps to 24 percent.† These numbers reflect broader national research that shows that LGBTQ individuals often find themselves victims of police violence when reaching out to the police for safety (NCAVP,2008).

One QEJ study participant said:

“I feel if you call the cops, the cops are going to think you are the criminal (when) they come.”


Related Stories:

Police Warn Potential Pattern in DC Trans Shootings

Leader of Cult-Like Group Charged with Killing Infertile Woman, “Gay” Child

2 Police Officers Charged After Beating Homeless Man To Death


Photo credit: Nick.Allen


Sandra K.
Sandra T6 years ago

My mother was in a relationship with a retired RCMP buffoon who hated absolutely everybody - especially those he thought were 'freeloaders', which included a really nice elderly couple I knew who were caretakers of a property I previously lived on, immigrants, the homeless, women, etc. His rage towards society in general & the fact that he despised everybody around him made me think of all the people who must've suffered at his hands while he was still employed with the RCMP. Yet this pig was at one time licensed to walk around with a gun, a baton & a taser. It made me sick to my stomach to be anywhere near him. His personal character was confirmed to me at his funeral where his fellow pigs in uniform joked about his cruelties to people in their eulogies, even how this guy used to go to the local prison & rattle his baton along the bars of the prisoners' cells, mocking them. They all thought his actions were hysterically funny. I was so sickened, surrounded by these disgusting PIGS, that I left in the middle.

As another commenter stated: NEVER TRUST A COP. So many of them are boiling, seething masses of hatred, racism, rage & psychosis which they are more than willing to rain down upon anybody they happen to come across.

David F.
David F7 years ago

This woman walked with a cane; she couldn't have moved very fast or been sure-footed. If these cops were so tough, why didn't they just take the knives away from her? Why is it that these armed thugs (the cops) always shoot first before trying any other method to diffuse the situation? Finally, why do they always have to shoot people multiple times and kill them? I would bet that a non-lethal shot to some other, less critical part of her body would have worked just fine. She would have dropped the knives and they could have then arrested her. These thugs should be tried, convicted, and executed for the cold-blooded murder of this woman. The last people who should be allowed any weapons, not just guns, are these mentally unstable moronic cops.

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S7 years ago

We must note here that no statement was ever made that the police were being threatened by her or that she was doing anything threatening with the knives. Just possessing a knife is NOT a justification for lethal force. The way the story is written it sounds like she was on her way back into the home she was staying at and was confronted by police. If she was not using the knives in a threatening manner then they had no right to even confront her. Just the possession of a knife is not illegal as long as it is within legal size limits and you are not threatening anyone with them. They were looking for a reason to get rid of someone they deemed as an 'undesireable' and they found a justification in their minds to do so. Sounds like a clear case of murder to me. If they were being threatened they would have said so, and they did not say that.

Carolyn B.
Carolyn R7 years ago

I don't really get that this is a GLBT issue. The police are not the best way for our society to deal with the homeless, but we won't fund any other solutions because any way you dare to try to help people makes right wing people mad. A middle aged person who is wielding 2 knives most likely could have benefited from some kind of mental health assistance. GLBT and other persecuted minorities might be more likely to face mental health issues because being persecuted your whole life by people who feel it's their moral right and even obligation to do so, and are not corrected in this notion by the broader culture, fact is, that is stressful. But I'm not convinced this is a police -vs - lesbians issue as much as a matter of our whole society being too often generally crude and cruel in response to people's mental health problems. Many Americans seem to equate mental illness with immorality and poverty with laziness, so we don't dare help anyone or let anyone else help them, although corporate welfare is never seen the same way. American Doublethink. The poor are wily money-grubbing tricksters - don't dare help them, the rich are doddering benevolent santa claus type figures, totally trustworthy who only ever help people, so give them a hand(out) whenever they ask.

Jennifer S.
Jennifer S7 years ago

People that cops protect = people with $$$$ and power.
People who the police shoot first and ask questions later = those who do not have $$$$ or power, that is why she is dead! If you are a crimnal with money you are safe. If you are law abiding with no money.... LOOK OUT, your life is in jeapordy!!!! It is a sad statement, but absolute power corrupts absolutely, and today police have absolute power and they are most definetly CORRUPT!! When are they going to be held accountable for killings like these?????

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L7 years ago


SeattleAnn S.
Ann S7 years ago

In response to the comment before my first one, I believe you have to get reasonably close to a person to taser them. The pellet gun idea sounds interesting though, I didn't know police used those.

SeattleAnn S.
Ann S7 years ago

Excuse me, but is it a minor point to everyone that she was holding two knives, told to drop them but refused? The police do use excessive force at times and are certainly not always in the right, but what should they do in this case - wait until someone is stabbed?

Janice Redinger
Janice Redinger7 years ago

They SHOULD have just tased her, or used those pellet guns that knock you down but don't kill you.

Amy D.
Amy D7 years ago

Gay lesbian homeless blue eyed has nothing to do with this. If you do not obey an order to drop knives, guns, the police do their job. You are a threat to yourself and anyone around you. Police are here to protect and serve and I absolutely do not believe they just shoot people to shoot them. Give me a break. A similar incident happened here. A kid and his brother were fighting and the cops came to break it up. The slug kid had a hammer and did not drop it when told to do so. He then hit the cop in the head with the hammer who had gotten between the two idiot brothers. His partner shot and killed the kid. Good riddance. What happened? The black community protested, screamed, wanted to sue the police. What about the incident didn't these people get. I have the right to shoot you if you threaten me with a deadly weapon. So do the police.