Exclusive: A Gun in Her Face, This Black Trans Woman Fought Back

Cleveland Police misgendered her at the scene and throughout their report, but she let it slide. She’s that kind of strong.

Raveena Minor, 24, is clearly no pushover.

In an exclusive interview with GO Magazine, the transgender woman tells how she came face to face with a man brandishing a gun last week in her Cleveland neighborhood.

Minor was walking home from school on East 147th Avenue just after 5 p.m. Wednesday, and stopped to buy some snacks. She was on her skateboard and had just passed a playground when she says the armed man got out of a car and confronted her.

“A dude with a gun came out and pointed at me,” Minor said.

According to Cleveland Police, the gunman said, “What’s up, n—a?” and pointed his pistol in Minor’s face.

“He said, ‘Take that shit off,’ meaning my hair and clothes,” Miinor said. “I said, ‘Who do you think you are?’ then tried to walk away.”

Photo courtesy Raveena Minor

Minor said he smacked her across the face with the pistol, and that’s when she said she did something she wouldn’t recommend to other women: she grabbed the gun and got into a wrestling match right there on the street. Minor says her attacker regained control of the gun and pistol-whipped her several times until she broke free and ran for her life.

And that’s when the gunman fired at her, somehow missing his target.

Minor said she called 911 (“After jumping two gates”) police responded, took a report and escorted her home.

The police report reveals some inconsistencies in that no shell casing was found at the scene, and it appears from the report that the gunman is someone Minor knows. 

He’s known only as “Arshawn,” and argued with Minor about a post on another woman’s Facebook page, according to police. The report shows Arshawn is wanted on prior charges of felonious assault and aggravated robbery.  He also allegedly damaged Minor’s $250 skateboard and the bag of chips and apple drink she had just purchased, by running over them when he drove off. The only identifying description given by police is that Arshawn is 5’8” with short hair and brown skin. 

Minor suffered cuts and bruises on both hands but refused to go to a hospital. The report does not mention any bruises from being hit in the head with the pistol although police do say she was struck with it “an unknown amount of times.”

Unfortunately, the treatment Minor received from police was also troubling. Just as they did at the scene, the officers took issue with important details such as Minor’s name and her gender, inconsistently referring to her as both male and female to her face. In the report the officers wrote up, they consistently used male pronouns as well as her legal male name — listing her chosen name as an alias, and then misspelled it. They also listed her gender as male, though Minor describes herself as “somewhat gender-fluid.”

Minor first shared her story with a Facebook group for trans lesbians, and agreed to speak with GO for this report to share her experience, as well as some advice.

“The day after I was shaken and having unexpected outbursts and crying,” Minor said. “Then the day after that I got better and better, and now I bounced back.”

Minor lives with her mother and said her family is “accepting at some degree” of her transgender identity.

She said if she had any advice to give to other women who find themselves in a similar predicament, it would be: “Remain calm. Don’t show emotions. De-escalate the situation.” Something that she admits she did not do.

Police tell GO they are actively searching for Arshawn. The investigation remains open.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports more than two-thirds of homicide victims in hate crime investigations are transgender women, and 67% of victims of those homicide victims were transgender women of color. And yet transgender survivors and victims only represent 13% of total reports to the NCAVP.
Already in 2017, there have been seven black trans women murdered after a record-breaking year in 2016. A total of 27 trans people were killed last year, most of them people of color, and most of them trans women.