D.C. police last week arrested a transgender woman for spraying a chemical repellent into the face of a man who she says called her names and assaulted her before identifying himself as an off-duty District police officer.
Chloe Alexander Moore, 25, was charged with simple assault following a 2 a.m. incident on Dec. 1 along the 1500 block of K St., N.W. According to court records, Officer Raphael Radon alleges that Moore squirted him with pepper spray in an unprovoked action following a brief exchange of words.
But two police sources said a sergeant and detective who responded to the scene determined through interviews with witnesses that Officer Radon initiated the altercation and may have committed a bias-related assault against Moore.
The police sources, who spoke on condition that they were not identified, said a night supervisor apprised of the incident by phone while at her office at the First District D.C. Police station overrode the recommendations of the sergeant and detective and ordered that Moore be charged with simple assault.
Officer Radon was not charged in the incident.
A police report filed in court identifies the supervisor as Capt. Michelle Williams, who was acting as the First District watch commander. The police sources said Williams gave the order to charge Moore in the case while speaking to officers on the scene by phone.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said this week that the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau was investigating the incident.
“Both the officer and the arrestee received medical treatment in relation to the occurrence,” Lanier told the Blade in an e-mail. “Additionally, this matter was properly reported as per our protocols and is already under investigation. Rest assured we will also address these allegations in our investigation.”
Moore, whose legal name is Alexander Moore, was taken to the First District at 101 M St., S.W., for booking and later to George Washington University Hospital before being transferred to the police Central Cellblock at 300 Indiana Ave., N.W., where she remained until being taken to court.
Court records show she pleaded not guilty before a D.C. Superior Court magistrate and was released on her own recognizance. She was scheduled to return to court on Dec. 13 for a status hearing.
Moore told the Blade the incident began when she and a female transgender friend were walking along the 1500 block of K St., N.W., and crossed paths with the man later identified as Officer Radon. Moore said Radon was with two friends, a man and a woman.
“We didn’t have a lighter and we see a gentleman who had a cigarette lit,” Moore said. “My friend goes and asks for a light and he said, ‘Hey ladies, how you doing?’ And we said we’re doing fine.”
According to Moore, as Radon got closer to the two he realized they were transgender.
“He was like, ‘I’m not going to give you a light because you’re a man,’” said Moore, who added that Radon suddenly became hostile and began making disparaging comments about her appearance, especially the dress she was wearing.
“He said he could see my dick and my balls. And he was very hostile and angry and I was afraid of what he would do and then he pushed me,” Moore said. “Not knowing if he was going to really hurt me I got real scared and in self-defense I pepper sprayed him.”
Moore said she immediately ran from the scene, with Radon chasing after her for nearly two blocks.
“He grabbed the back of my neck and he throws me on the ground,” Moore said. “My midsection was on the curb and he puts his knee in my back real hard, and it caused a lot of pain.”
It was at that time, according to Moore, that Radon pulled out his badge and identified himself to her as a police officer. Within seconds, she said, uniformed, on-duty police officers appeared on the scene. Minutes later she said she was placed in handcuffs and a short time later placed inside a police car.
“We stayed out there about three hours after it occurred, waiting to see what was going to happen,” said Moore. “The police were talking among themselves and trying to make up their minds what they were going to do.”
She said the officers initially ignored her request that they call an ambulance to examine her because she was in pain from being knocked down by Radon.
Eventually an ambulance arrived, but she observed Radon getting inside and being taken away.
“He was saying his eyes were burning,” she said.
A police report filed in court says the incident began about 2:05 a.m. and that Moore was placed under arrest at 4:26 a.m.
“At approximately 0426 the undersigned officer was ordered to place D1 [Defendant 1] under arrest for simple assault,” says the report prepared by an officer identified only as B. Dass.
“The order was given by the 1D Watch Commander (Capt. Williams) through Lt. Dykes. “Then D1 was transported to 1D for further processing,” the report says.
The report gives Officer Radon’s account of what happened, saying he told an officer responding to the scene that he was approached by “two transgenders who engaged him and [Witness 1] and [Witness 2] in conversation.”
According to the report, Radon said the two transgender women asked him for a cigarette light and then asked him where he was going.
“It’s unclear which witness pointed across the street to a club,” the report says. “[Moore] then stated, ‘We have everything better than where you’re going for $10,” the report said Radon told officers at the scene.
“Officer Radon then told [Moore], ‘No thank you, I am not into guys.” “And told [Moore] ‘You don’t know who you’re talking to,’” the report says. “[Moore] then pulled out a can of pepper spray and sprayed Officer Radon in the face. Officer Radon then pulled out his MPDC credentials at which time [Moore] ran [eastbound] on K Street,” the report says.
“Officer Radon gave foot pursuit and then an apprehension was made in the 1400 block of K Street. Both Witness 1 and Witness 2 collaborated [Radon’s] statements,” the report says.
But the report says two other witnesses backed up Moore’s version of what happened. One of the two apparently is the transgender woman who was with Moore. The report, which does not identify any of the witnesses by name, suggests that Witness 3 may have been standing nearby and was not with any of the others involved in the incident.
“Witness 3 recounted the same story as D1 [Defendant 1—Moore],” the police report says.
Local attorney Dale Edwin Saunders, who practices criminal law in the District, described as “highly unusual” the decision by police and the United States Attorney’s office to charge Moore in the case.
“This person would have never been arrested or papered if the complaining witness had been a civilian,” Saunders said. “The defendant had two witnesses corroborating her version of the events.”
The U.S. Attorney’s office, which prosecutes most criminal cases in D.C., could not comment because it’s a pending case, according to spokesperson William Miller.
Moore, who said she’s unemployed, acknowledged that she had been arrested on an unrelated solicitation for prostitution charge on Nov. 20 along the 300 block of K St., N.W., in an area known to be frequented by transgender prostitutes. She called the arrest unjustified and said she is challenging it in court.
She said she’s also planning to file a police abuse complaint against Officer Radon and was in the process of seeking assistance from Transgender Health Empowerment, a transgender advocacy group.
Transgender activist Jeri Hughes, who is on the T.H.E. staff, said transgender women who can’t find work, often due to anti-transgender bias, sometimes turn to prostitution “to survive.” Hughes said the facts surrounding Moore’s interaction with Officer Radon strongly suggest her arrest was a “miscarriage of justice” and called on police to thoroughly investigate the incident.
Radon could not be immediately reached for comment.