The Metropolitan Police Department arrested a man suspected of assaulting two transgender individuals, also described as members of the Latino LGBT community, shortly after the incident on Saturday, March 13.
According to a report released Monday, March 15, by Sgt. Carlos Mejia, who heads MPD’s Special Liaison Units (SLU), police were called to 14th and Sheperd Streets NW on Saturday. There they found two “transgender individuals,” one of whom suffered injuries from the attack and received medical treatment.
“The investigation further revealed that the suspect attacked the complainants because of their gender identity,” Mejia says in the report, adding that the suspect was charged with bias-related assault with a dangerous weapon.
The victims were attacked with a “metal pole.”
Local activist José Gutierrez, president of the Latino GLBT History Project, confirmed that one of the victims was Latino, and that both victims were transgender women.
“The trans community that I have spoken to about this are really concerned about what happened,” Gutierrez says.
Joe Montoni, co-chair of Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), said the incident confirms what GLOV has been hearing from activists within the Latino community.
“[V]iolence against transgender people in that area is on the rise,” Montoni said in an e-mail to Metro Weekly responding to reports of the Petworth neighborhood attack.
“I urge all members of the trans community to report any incidence of harassment or assault and to be vigilant in their personal safety.”
Kelly Pickard, GLOV’s other co-chair, says this recent incident “underscores the concerns we have expressed from the outset about the reorganization of the GLLU regarding the need for open communication with community groups like GLOV.”
GLOV is hosting a meet and greet with MPD officers trained in services provided by the city’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU) on Thursday, March 25.
“Education and awareness are important parts of staying safe,” Pickard adds, “and as D.C.’s community-based advocate for anti-violence, GLOV can be a resource to both the community and the MPD if and when incidents are reported and incident-related information is shared with the community.”
GLOV hosts a meet-and-greet event with the officers of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit (GLLU), 6-8 p.m., The Center, 1810 14th St. NW. thedccenter.org.