MILWAUKEE LGBT FILM/VIDEO FESTIVAL presents
FROM TRAGEDY TO TRANS JUSTICE,
MAPPING A DETROIT STORY
In the fall of 2011, Shelly ‘Treasure’ Hilliard’s body parts were discovered around the city of Detroit. Because Treasure was a trans teen who sometimes did sex work, the Detroit Police Department assumed that her murderers, who they apprehended, committed a hate crime.
But during their trial, it was discovered that the suburban police officers, who Treasure encountered at a motel where she sometimes lived and worked, revealed she was an informant to the drug dealers who murdered her. Threatened with being jailed in a men’s prison, she was coerced to entrap her pot dealer. During this arrest, the police officers revealed Treasure
cooperated with them, a total breach of protocol. Though her murder wasn’t prosecuted as a hate crime, the brutality inflicted on her indicates a desire to obliterate.
But TREASURE is not a film that fetishizes the murder of another trans person. TREASURE is also about the community that Treasure belonged to, a diverse and affirming activist community.
Anchored by The Ruth Ellis Center, Treasure and her friends received support, counseling and were trained to lead social justice workshops. TREASURE is also about Shelly’s family, who filed a civil suit against the suburban police department who set in motion her murder.
2015 Blackstar Film Festival