Thursday, July 3, 2014

Transgender woman attacked in L5P, video shows (Update)

Posted By on Thu, Jul 3, 2014 at 4:05 PM

A video that circulated on social media last night showing a man push and stomp on an apparent transgender woman in Little Five Points has people calling for action and Atlanta Police looking for more information.

The short video is one of several of an apparent altercation that took place outside Stratosphere Skateboards and Aurora Coffee on Moreland Avenue. The clips were posted on Tuesday night by Vine user TriAngle SquarE and can be viewed here. The Georgia Voice's Patrick Saunders has also spliced together the videos. (Warning: The clips contain language and violence.)

In the clips, the victim appears to be arguing with a group of unidentified people. The final video depicts an unidentified male shoving her to the ground and then stomping at least once on her face or her shoulder. It is unclear what happens afterward. Twitter user "8081Meel" clams he witnessed the incident:


CL Music Editor Chad Radford was working in the coffee shop when the verbal dispute began but did not witness the physical assault. He said he later saw the victim walking near Findley Plaza and asking people for change.

We should note, as Project Q did, that we don't know the victim's name at the moment or if the person identifies as transgender. An email to Stratosphere Skateboards has not been returned. An employee of Junkman's Daughter told the Georgia Voice that the woman might have been homeless.

The man who shot the video, who asked to be identified only by his Vine account name "TriAngle SquarE," tells CL that he thinks the incident was not rooted in trans-misogyny.

"I believe the videos are out of context and make it look much more intense than it actually was," he says. "It had nothing to do with a man or woman. It had nothing to do with bullying."

On the day the film was shot, Square says, he was running errands in Little Five Points when he heard yelling from the area in front of Stratosphere Skateboards and Aurora Coffee.

"I saw this homeless person yelling, being crazy," he says. "That's something I'm used to seeing in Little Five Points. I started filming it on my phone."

He claims the victim was yelling at the group and that alcohol might have been involved. Nearby business owners had asked her to leave and she knocked some things over, he says. The victim then, Square claims, tried to pick a fight with one or two members of the group. Some ignored the action in hopes she would leave. Then she came at the suspect, he says, who hit her.

"The [suspect] overreacted," Square says. "I saw members pull that person away and then they helped the person who got hit to her feet and she walked way," he said. "No one called the police because she seemed fine and was still yelling."

He says it seemed like the victim "got up within moments of it happening." He also says the angle at which the video was filmed - a pole obscures part of the victim's face when she is on the ground - made the kick look worse than it actually was.

"It looks like their head is stomped on but in reality it was their shoulder," he says.

Square says the suspect, a stranger, walked up late to the altercation. After being pulled off the victim, he quickly left the scene, he says.

Square says he started seeing the victim hanging around L5P six months ago. He thinks that this incident is not about trans-misogyny but homelessness and inequality. He says he doesn't condone the violence, was shocked by what happened, but he "just captured it on film and put it out." Square said he was surprised by the attention paid to the videos, which were sandwiched between random clips of cats, pranks, and skateboarding, among others.

An Atlanta Police spokesman on Wednesday night said he could not find any reported incidents that took place on Tuesday night on Moreland Avenue. According to Decaturish, employees at the nearby businesses on Thursday did not report seeing anything. APD officers also told Decaturish Editor Dan Whisenhunt that they searched the neighborhood to speak with the victim the night before. Another spokeswoman early on Thursday said officers were trying to contact the victim and witnesses to provide more information about the incident.

The attack follows the assault of two transgender women on a MARTA train that left one victim nude. Video of the incident was posted online. MARTA Police have arrested two men in connection with the case.

NOTE: This post has been altered to include updates from the person who says he filmed the video and new information from other sources.

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