Prosecutors in the city of Philadelphia have charged a woman for allegedly attacking a transgender woman who was brutally beaten inside her home in the city’s Point Breeze neighborhood last month.
Tymesha Wearing, also known as Tymesha Brahim and Tymesha Garfield, was arraigned last Thursday on charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangering of another person, criminal trespassing, possible instrument of crime with intention, and conspiracy, as well as ethnic intimidation, according to court filings.
Her bail was set at $100,000, and is currently being held in the county correctional facility. She is next scheduled in court for a preliminary hearing on Oct. 14.
Under city law, the District Attorney can charge a summary offense for alleged anti-LGBTQ hate crimes that will permanently appear on a defendant’s criminal record.
However, the District Attorney cannot pursue misdemeanor or felony charges against the defendant, because Pennsylvania law does not recognize sexual orientation or gender identity as protected classes under its hate crimes statute, according to the Philadelphia news website Billy Penn.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has long supported adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the hate crime law, but lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House and Senate have largely refused to pass any legislation that could expand LGBTQ rights.
If those protections had been added to the law, Wearing and others accused of crimes against the LGBTQ community could potentially face harsher sentences or additional prison time if convicted.
According to prosecutors, the victim, Kendall Stephens, was in her home on Aug. 24 when she heard the sounds of a brawl going on outside her house. She looked out to see about 25 people engaged in or watching the brawl.
Stephens opened her door to threaten to call 911 if the crowd didn’t quiet down and disperse, at which point some members of the group began attacking her, with nine people coming inside her house and beating her while yelling derogatory anti-transgender slurs at her.
During the course of the attack, the assailants ripped out Stephens’ hair, punched her, and beat her in the face with a wooden planter. Stephens later checked into a hospital and sought treatment for a broken nose, cuts to her gums mouth, and lips, and facial swelling.
The initial attack was captured on a surveillance camera, but the attackers ripped the camera from the wall during the attack.
Police claim they were able to use that video, along with social media postings, to identify Wearing as one of the attackers. Anyone with additional information on the attack is asked to call police at 215-686-TIPS (8477).
Stephens told Billy Penn that she was “relieved” that an arrest had been made.
“I have not gotten a wink of sleep since this whole ordeal,” she said. “Hopefully tonight will be a night I can finally close my eyes and rest.”
She also urged state lawmakers to fix the hate crimes law and add LGBTQ people as a protected class, saying: “[A]s long as the Commonwealth does not have hate crime legislation on the books that protects against people who are trans-identified, then these sort of targeted attacks will continue to happen with impunity.”
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