A transgender woman was assaulted to the point of unconsciousness in Texas on Friday in what authorities characterized as an apparent act of mob violence.
Police said they are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime.
The victim, identified by WFAA-TV and CBS Dallas, as 23-year-old Muhlaysia Booker, told authorities that a group of people attacked her in a Dallas apartment complex parking lot after she was involved in a minor car crash.
“During a verbal altercation regarding the accident, a male suspect began to physically assault the victim before several other suspects joined in the assault,” Dallas police said in a statement. “The victim sustained serious bodily injuries and was transported to UT Southwestern by witnesses at the scene.”
Apparent cellphone video of the attack shared on social media showed several people beating and kicking the woman. Booker told police the assailants used homophobic slurs during the attack. She was beaten to unconsciousness, her family said, and suffered a facial fracture and other injuries.
Police arrested Edward Thomas, 29, on Sunday night and charged him with aggravated assault.
NEW— Dallas Police arrested Edward Thomas, 29, Sunday night for his role in the beating of a transgender woman. He is charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. Police are investigating the mob-like attack as a possible hate crime. pic.twitter.com/Mi0Aw9zMi6— Shannon Murray (@ShannonMFox4) April 15, 2019
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he was “extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence” against Booker.
“Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community,“ Rawlings wrote in a Facebook post Saturday. “We will not stand for this kind of behavior.”
Booker’s father, Pierre Booker, told NBC Dallas-Fort Worth that she had faced “hatred” in the past, but said Friday’s attack was the “most violent” yet.
“My daughter is traumatized from it,” Pierre Book told CBS Dallas. “No one wants to see this happen to their children.”
Transgender people, particularly women of color, face disproportionate rates of violence in the United States. At least 128 transgender people were killed in the U.S. between 2013 and 2018, according to a Human Rights Campaign report. Nine in 10 of these victims were trans women; more than 100 were black or Latinx.
This article has been updated to include the arrest and police statement.
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