Arrest in brutal beating of Dallas transgender woman

Dallas — Police have made an arrest in the brutal beating Friday of a transgender woman that’s being classified as a hate crime. It occurred in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people and was caught on cellphone video.

Police announced the arrest Sunday night of 29-year-old Edward Thomas and said they’re continuing to canvass the neighborhood where it happened for other participants and witnesses.

They said the woman reported the assault while receiving hospital treatment Friday night.

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She told officers she was attacked earlier in the day after she was involved in a minor traffic accident near an apartment complex, according to the police statement released Saturday.

CBS Dallas reported a cellphone video captured a crowd of bystanders gawking as the victim, identified by the station as Muhlaysia Booker, was viciously punched by one man and kicked by others.

She was apparently beaten into unconsciousness while the crowd looked on and homophobic slurs were shouted.

Several women eventually carried the victim’s limp body to safety.

Booker’s father, Peirre Booker, told CBS Dallas the attackers were “cowards” and his daughter “is traumatized from it. Very traumatized.”

He said the attack has left him “highly upset” and that he hated watching his daughter being assaulted.

She was recovering at home from injuries that included a broken wrist, CBS Dallas reported.

Edward Thomas mugshot City of Dallas

Some residents said Muhlaysia was provoking the crowd before the assault.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he is “extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman” and that those responsible don’t represent how most residents feel about the city’s “thriving LGBTQ community.”

Last November, the FBI reported that 7,175 hate crimes were committed in the United States in 2017, the most recent year for which the agency had compiled data. Of those, 1,130 were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias. The data showed a 5% increase in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias and a 4% decrease in hate crimes motivated by gender identity bias. Of crimes motivated by gender identity bias, 106 targeted transgender people, a 1% increase from 2016.

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