Even though felony hate-crime charges against two men accused of attacking a transgender woman in San Francisco were dismissed, the city’s district attorney says he plans to refile them when the case goes to trial before a different judge.
District Attorney George Gascón said comments made by the assailants at the time of the attack are sufficient to warrant the additional charges, disagreeing with a ruling made by San Francisco Superior Court judge Bruce Chan, who — feeling the incident was motivated purely by robbery — ordered the defendants to stand trial on assault, civil rights, and robbery charges.
“This is about: ‘Are we really serious about treating every community equally?’” Gascón told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We have to fight against marginalizing our communities.”
According to prosecutors, the woman, 20, was accosted April 1 in the 16th Street BART station by Lionel Jackson, 32, and Maurice Perry, 37. One of the men reportedly called out, “What’s good, mama?” before realizing the woman was transgender. Witnesses say the suspects then spewed insults, grabbed the victim’s phone, and began punching her in the face.
"I hate men dressed up as women," Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang quoted the men as saying as they left the scene.
Gascón believes Judge Chan's ruling did not go far enough. "The robbery may have occurred regardless [of her gender], but the assault happened because she was transgender."