The U.S. Attorney’s Office advised D.C. Superior Court Judge Juliet McKenna Thursday that it will possibly pursue bias enhancements – also known colloquially as ”hate-crime charges” – against at least one of the two women accused of attacking a local drag entertainer in a late-night takeout restaurant in June.
Rachel Manna Sahle, 22, of Gaithersburg, Md., faces a charge of simple assault for allegedly attacking Miles DeNiro, who performs as drag personality Heidi Glüm, in a Manny and Olga’s restaurant near the intersection of 14th and T Streets NW.
Video of the attack, which went viral after it was posted online at worldstarhiphop.com – a website showcasing clips from music videos, fights and embarrassing sexual escapades – shows Sahle and a second woman, Raymone Harding, 28, of Gaithersburg, objecting to DeNiro’s appearance. The video then shows the women grabbing DeNiro by his hair and dragging him across the floor while several bystanders watch.
Sahle and Harding are being tried separately and not as co-defendants. Harding has yet to appear in court for a status hearing, but is scheduled to appear before Judge McKenna in mid-November. Metro Weekly was unable to immediately confirm whether prosecutors are considering pursuing bias enhancements to the assault charge against Harding.
At Sahle’s status hearing Thursday, prosecutors asked McKenna for additional time to consider whether to pursue bias enhancements to the simple assault charge against her. McKenna scheduled a follow-up status hearing for later this month, at which point the government will notify the court whether it wants to pursue such charges. If Sahle is found guilty on the assault charge against her, such bias enhancements would likely add penalties to her sentence.
Sahle and Harding both remain released on personal recognizance as they await trial. They have been ordered to avoid any contact with DeNiro, and are required to submit to regular drug testing, in accordance with requirements set by the court’s Pretrial Services Agency.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!