The Dallas Police Department is reviewing an assault captured on video that could potentially be classified as a hate crime. According to Dallas police, the incident happened Friday at 11:23 p.m. at the Royal Crest Apartments located at 3558 Wilhurt Avenue.
The victim, a transgender female, told police that she had gotten into a minor crash and afterward was assaulted by several people. The entire attack was captured on video and shared on social media.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings released a statement on the assault stating he was “extremely angry about what appears to be a mob violence against this woman.”
“Chief Hall alerted me this morning to the assault at the Royal Crest Apartments and I have seen a video of what happened. I am extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman. I am in contact with the chief and she assured me that the Dallas Police Department is fully investigating, including the possibility that this was a hate crime. Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community. We will not stand for this kind of behavior,” according to a statement from Mayor Rawlings.
The victim has been identified by family members as Muhlaysia Booker.
The victim’s grandmother said the victim was with her cousin visiting someone at the Royal Crest Apartments, when she accidentally backed her car into another car. “The person got out of the car and then they started talking to their friends, and their friends started coming up and everybody started kicking and hitting Mulhaysia,” Booker added.
The three-minute video shows several people surrounding the victim, stomping and kicking her as she’s trying to get away. Some screamed for them to stop, while others just watched. It isn’t until about two minutes into the clip that people are able to pull her away from the crowd. The victim told police her attackers used homophobic slurs while beating her.
“Anyone who thinks it’s acceptable just because she’s transgender, something is wrong with them too,” the victim’s aunt, Quan Booker, said. “They need to seek some help. It’s still a human being, period. Regardless of what her gender is, she’s still a human being.” Family members say the victim has a broken wrist, a swollen face, and she’s in a lot of pain, but is home from the hospital recovering.
“The person needs to be turned in, the people that did it, all that. The apartments need to be ran down with a bulldozer,” said Pierre Booker, the victim’s father.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he was disgusted watching the video, and police are working with a sense of urgency to try and identify the people responsible. “When we as citizens see something bad, we’ve got to stop it. We’ve got to say something about it, we can’t just sit back and be bystanders there,” Rawlings said.
“Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community,” he added. “We will not stand for this kind of behavior.”
Texas hate crime law does not cover gender identity, but a federal law, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act, does enhance penalties for anti-transgender violence.
Police declined to provide additional information about their investigation on Sunday. But we do know that transgender people — particularly transgender women of color — face exceptionally high rates of violence and homicide. The National Center for Transgender equality reports that more one in four trans people has faced a bias-driven assault.
The victim posted a message on Facebook on Saturday thanking her supporters.
Her family said she’s not ready to speak publicly about the attack.