PHILADELPHIA — Something violent happened to Nizah Morris between the time police picked her up and when she was found bleeding and unconscious in the street.
Dispatch records show that Officer Elizabeth Skala responded to a 911 call from a bar in Philadelphia’s “Gayborhood” section of Center City on Dec. 22, 2002. There she encountered Morris, a transgender woman who had been living as female since the 1970s. Morris was well-known and well liked in the area, where she performed in drag shows at a local bar. Morris was also well-known to the police, having been arrested 53 times over her lifetime, according the local press reports.
A 911 caller reported a collapsed person in need of an ambulance, which was en route—until Skala canceled it, the police department admitted. Skala and witnesses said Morris refused to go to the hospital.