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A Maryland man has been charged with hate crimes after threatening two transgender people with a pocketknife and saying he would cut their genitalia off, police say.
Anne Arundel County police say Austin Keith Johnson, 51, made the threats against two people who were walking in a parking lot near a strip mall Tuesday in Baltimore's Brooklyn neighborhood, the Annapolis Capital Gazette reports.
Johnson, of Brooklyn Park, ran up behind the victims and said he would cut them if they didn't leave the area, and also called them "he-she's," according to the police report. One pushed a shopping cart at Johnson after he started swinging an open knife at them, but it did not hit him. He finally backed off after the victims repeatedly told him to go away, police said. The Capital Gazette story did not specify the victims' gender.
The victims reported the attack to an Anne Arundel County officer who was in a police car nearby, and Johnson was soon arrested. He is charged with assaulting both victims on the basis of their gender identity, in addition to two counts each of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment. He is being held without bond. Prior to the incident, he was already on probation; he "has a history of misdemeanor charges including disorderly conduct, public intoxication and theft," the Capital Gazette reports.
This appears to be the second anti-trans assault in the county this year. Earlier this month police responded to a report of a man threatening his partner, who is in the process of transitioning, the newspaper reports.