Ky Peterson is a Black trans man from Georgia. In 2011, as he was walking home from a convenience store, a man hit him over the head and knocked him out. When he woke up he was being raped. In the midst of his struggle with his attacker, he shot and killed the man. Ky waited over a year in jail to meet with a public defender, who then only met with him twice. According to statements made by Ky’s public defender, they denied his right to plead self-defense because Ky is black and “looks stereotypically gay”. Ky was forced to sign a plea deal while on heavy mental health medications. He pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail, according to Georgia law. But Ky was sentenced to 20 years, with 15 to serve in confinement. So far Ky has served over 5 years in prison.
In 2017, Ky was denied parole and put in solitary confinement for a month awaiting a sentencing hearing. At that hearing, the court changed his charge from involuntary manslaughter to voluntary manslaughter, claiming that the original charge was a clerical error.
Ky is asking people to join in a letter-writing campaign to Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. Sign Ky’s petition, get information about the letter-writing campaign, and follow Ky’s case at freeingky.com.
Learn about campaigns for other people like Ky who have been locked up for defending themselves and surviving at survived and punished.org.
This video was conceived by Mariame Kaba and narrated by CeCe McDonald. Directed and produced by Dean Spade and Hope Dector. Audio editing by Lewis Wallace, recording by S.O. O'Brien. Art by Micah Bazant. Created by the Barnard Center for Research on Women and Survived and Punished.
Sign the petition: http://bit.ly/Justice4Ky
Visit freeingky.com and download the Freedom Overground toolkit at http://bit.ly/kytoolkit for information about letter writing, participating in the #FreeKy social media photo project, and more ways to get involved in the campaign to Free Ky.
Download the Survived and Punished toolkit for resources on starting a defense campaign:
Visit the Survived and Punished website to learn about ongoing campaigns for freedom: