June 17, 2014 at 8:16 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Md. man sentenced to 28 months for anti-trans hate crime

trans, transgender flag, gay news, Washington Blade

A Maryland man on Monday was sentenced to 28 months in jail for an anti-trans attack in D.C (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key).

A D.C. Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced a Maryland man to 28 months in prison for what prosecutors said was a hate-motivated assault on a transgender woman at a convenience store in Northeast Washington in January.

The sentencing by Judge Robert I. Richter came three months after Michael Phillips, 36, of Fairmont Heights, Md., pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with a dangerous weapon that the U.S. Attorney’s office classified as a “bias-related (hate) crime.”

In addition to 28 months of incarceration, Richter sentenced Phillips to three years of supervised probation upon his release from prison.

In a statement released on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s office said the attack occurred at about 2:40 a.m. on Jan. 27, 2014, at a convenience store on the 900 block of Eastern Avenue, N.E. The statement says Phillips and the victim and friends of the victim were customers at the store and the two parties did not know each other prior to the incident.

“Upon seeing the victim and her friends walk into the store, Phillips stated words to the effect of, ‘Let me see who’s the real bitch here,’” the statement says. “He then pointed at the victim and made a derogatory remark about her sexuality. When the victim told Phillips to leave her alone, Phillips stated words to the effect of ‘Well you wasn’t born no female,’” according to the U.S. Attorney’s statement.

At that point words were exchanged inside the store and Phillips approached the victim, pulled a handgun from his pocket and struck the victim in the face with the gun “multiple times,” the statement says.

“At his plea hearing, Phillips admitted assaulting the victim with the handgun because of his prejudice based on her perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,” says the statement.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

    • Transgender people are protected against hate crimes in some, but not all states. Gender identity is only protected in Washington D.C., Minnesota, California, Missouri, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, New Mexico, Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Nevada.

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