A minor car accident at a Dallas apartment complex on April 12 escalated into a vicious group beating of a transgender woman by men who hurled anti-LGBTQ slurs as they pummeled her on the ground in broad daylight, according to video footage from Facebook and information provided by police.
Police say a verbal altercation ensued following the accident, which took place between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. just south of the city center at Royal Crest Apartments at 3358 Wilhurt Avenue. Video footage showed the woman, identified on Facebook as Muhlaysia Booker, speaking while surrounded by a large group of people.
The situation turned violent seconds later when a man in a white shirt started attacking the woman before a group of others joined in and kicked her head and body as she tried to escape. She managed to get up at one point, only to be knocked back down again by the main assailant and beaten further.
When the attack was finally over, women were seen carrying Booker to safety.
Dallas police arrested 29-year-old Edward Thomas for aggravated assault in connection to the beating. Authorities would not confirm whether Thomas is suspected to be the main assailant, but a spokesperson confirmed that other suspects are being pursued.
Authorities visited Booker at a nearby hospital, where she recalled the incident and said her attackers called her homophobic slurs.
The case is being investigated as a possible hate crime, according to police. Texas hate crimes law protects individuals on the basis of sexual orientation, but not gender identity, and a police spokesperson would not confirm which category of hate crime is being investigated. The Dallas police’s LGBTQ liaison did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Booker took to Facebook one day after the attack to thank the public for the support she had received, saying that it was “a blessing being lucky enough to witness the love and respect I’m getting.”
Booker did not respond to requests for comment on this story. A local ABC affiliate reported Booker suffered facial fractures and that her right arm is in a sling.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in an April 13 statement that he was “extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman” and noted that Dallas police assured him that the case is being investigated as a hate crime.
“Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community,” Rawlings said. “We will not stand for this kind of behavior.”