A D.C. Superior Court judge on Tuesday issued a bench warrant for Ahmad Robinson, 29, of Silver Spring, after he failed to appear in court for a status hearing related to an incident in August where Robinson is accused of attacking a transgender woman in D.C.'s Chinatown.
Judge Herbert Dixon issued the warrant, which authorizes the immediate on-sight arrest of Robinson for his failure to appear. If caught, Robinson will be held without bond for violating the terms of his release.
Robinson faces a charge of simple assault, to which he pleaded not guilty Sept. 28. He was previously scheduled to appear before Dixon Oct. 9, but had the hearing moved to Nov. 6 at the request of his lawyer, Joseph Bernard, who was in the midst of a trial for another client.
When the hearing was rescheduled, Robinson, who had already been released on bail, was told to continue to report to the court's Pretrial Services Agency (PSA), continue with a drug-treatment program he was enrolled in, submit to regularly scheduled drug testing and stay away from the victim in the case.
In response to the warrant being issued, the local anti-hate-crimes group Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV) issued a statement questioning the terms of Robinson's release for a violent crime: "GLOV stresses the need for the police department and the USAO to understand the urgency the LGBT community feels towards our safety," GLOV spokesman Hassan Naveed said in the statement. "Because of this risk, we feel the apprehension of this individual should be a priority. The individual's release leads to the possibility of a repeat offense."
GLOV has been working on developing a cultural-sensitivity curriculum to better train lawyers from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia (USAO-DC), and hopes to implement it soon to prevent law enforcement officials from being too lenient with those who might pose a threat to the LGBT community.
According to charging documents, officers from the Metropolitan Police Department found the victim at the corner of 5th and K Streets NW after responding to reports of an assault in progress in the Chinatown neighborhood at 12:45 a.m., Aug. 10.
Robinson allegedly asked the victim, a transgender woman, ''Are you a bitch or nigga?'' to which she replied, ''What the fuck does it look like?'' Robinson then allegedly said, ''Motherfucka, you got a dick. Take that shit to Sursum Corda,'' referring to a D.C. neighborhood close to several housing projects that is known to be a popular hang-out for some members of the transgender community.
Robinson then allegedly knocked a beer out of the woman's hand and hit her with a closed fist. The woman told police she pursued her attacker down L Street NW and into a nearby Safeway store, where she lost track of him.
An hour later, the victim spotted and positively identified Robinson, who was walking near the scene of the crime, as her attacker, whereupon MPD officers arrested him.
[Editor's note: This story was updated Nov. 7 at 5:55 p.m. to include the statement from Naveed.]