Crime

Dallas police investigating report suspect was paid $200 to beat up transgender woman

Allies of transgender children ready to fight Texas’ ‘bathroom bill’

Allies of transgender children ready to fight Texas' 'bathroom bill' - Credit: Equality Texas
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Allies of transgender children ready to fight Texas' 'bathroom bill' - Credit: Equality Texas

More arrests could be possible in the attack on a transgender woman on Friday afternoon in Dallas, according to police.

On Sunday night, 29-year-old Edward Thomas was arrested and booked into the Dallas County Jail on a charge of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury.

The assault occurred shortly after 5 p.m. Friday near the Royal Crest Apartments at 3558 Wilhurt Ave. The woman had been in a minor traffic accident at the apartments when multiple people attacked her and called her homophobic slurs, police said.

Before the attack, the victim has accidentally backed into another car, police said. The other driver said he ran her off the road to keep her from leaving the scene, according to an affidavit of arrest obtained by the Dallas Morning News.

The woman, who identified herself through a family member as Muhlaysia Booker, told police that the driver pointed a gun at her. Then, someone offered Thomas $200 to beat Booker, according to the affidavit.

A video of the attack posted on Facebook shows a group of people standing around an intersection at an apartment complex. A man in a white shirt starts to hit the 23-year-old woman in the face and she falls to the ground. Others around her start to kick her. After about a minute, a group of women help the woman up and carry her away.

Asked about the bet on Monday afternoon, a police spokesperson said detectives are reviewing all audio and video to determine if that was said, and who said it.

Dallas police said they are working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to determine if the attack meets the criteria for a hate crime.

Booker’s family said she has facial fractures and her right arm is in a sling. The family told Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV that Booker has been released from the hospital and is “thanking God that she’s still alive.”

Mayor Mike Rawlings condemned the assault in a statement Saturday morning.

“I am extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman,” he said in the statement. “Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community. We will not stand for this kind of behavior.”

Thomas remains jailed on Monday evening on a $75,000 bond.

On Monday afternoon, Royal Crest Apartments released a statement to CBS-11 that said, “We at Royal Crest Apartments are very disturbed by the video of the violent incident that occurred near our property on Friday.

“We strongly condemn any actions of violence or discrimination. While neither the victim nor the attackers were residents of the property, and the incident appears to have begun with a traffic incident, we are working to obtain all available surveillance video to assist the Dallas Police Department in their ongoing investigation. We are grateful for Dallas Police Department’s diligent arrest of the suspect. Our prayers are with the victim, and we will continue to work with law enforcement to prevent violence in our nearby communities.”

Of the 7,175 hate crime incidents reported by the FBI in 2017, 119 were related to gender identity bias. Of those 106 victims were transgender.

Anyone with information or video of the assault should contact Dallas Det. Christopher Evans at 214-671-3584 or email Christopher.evans@dpd.ci.dallas.tx.us

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