Conflicting accounts are swirling after a trans-YouTuber was arrested in Miami Beach and allegedly placed in a men’s jail.
Nikita Dragun’s camp says her rights were violated, while the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department says she “never made it beyond the booking process.”
"The situation with Nikita, who is legally female, being placed in a men's unit of a Florida jail is extremely disturbing and dangerous,” her publicist, Jack Ketsoyan, said in a statement to E News. “This decision made by the Miami-Dade County Corrections Department directly violates their protocol, which mandates that transgender inmates are classified and housed based on safety needs and gender identity. Nikita has been released and is now safe. Thank you for respecting her privacy during this time."
Dragun, a makeup influencer and YouTuber with millions of followers across multiple platforms, was arrested Monday evening from the Goodtime Hotel in Miami Beach and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct, and violation of city ordinance with a $2,000 bond.
According to Local 10, police were called when she was causing a disturbance and walking around the pool area unclothed. When security asked her to cover up, she threw water at them. When police arrived, she was playing loud music from her hotel room and threw a water bottle at them. She was taken to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami.
Donning a red jumpsuit during her hearing, Judge Mindy S. Glazer asked Dragun how she would like to be addressed, to which she replied “she and her.” When the judge told her not to return to the Goodtime Hotel outside of retrieving her things with a police officer, Dragun said, “Thank you so much, I’d like to thank the staff, they’ve been very lovely.”
Then, Dragun asked Glazer: “You honor, may I ask one question? Do I have to stay here in the men’s unit still?” to which Glazer replied, “Yeah, I don’t make the rules up there but they should have proper accommodations for you.”
However, the Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department said in a statement that this was untrue.
“Inmate Dragun never made it beyond the booking process prior to release; therefore, she was never placed in a men’s unit,” the statement reads. “All inmates undergoing our intake process remain in an open seating [open booking] area, in the presence of correctional staff. Additionally, inmate Dragun was placed in a holding cell by herself due to her high profile status before being released, and she was escorted by an LGBTQ officer during her time at the corrections facility.”
Earlier this year, three trans people sued Miami-Dade County for abuses they suffered at the same center that Dragun was in. According to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, the three underwent “illegal strip searches,” called “it” and “hermaphrodite,” were referred to by the wrong gender pronouns, were physically abused, and officers “required them to wear clothing associated with the wrong gender in order to be freed from jail.”
The three were arrested during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests in Miami.
“To book a woman into the men's unit of a correctional facility is shocking and unacceptable,” the Transinclusive Group said in a statement. “Transgender people are at a much higher risk of sexual violence while incarcerated, and frequently experience physical and sexual assault and harassment.”
“If our justice and correctional systems cannot treat all individuals with the dignity they deserve, they must rapidly evolve to prioritize human rights and update their procedures to provide justice that is inclusive and informed by modern best-practices.”