July 3, 2013 at 8:15 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Arrest made in pizzeria attack on drag performer
Miles DeNiro, Manny & Olga's, hate crime, gay news, Washington Blade

Miles Denaro, 24, says he was attacked by two women who called him a ‘tranny’ and ‘faggot.’ (Screen capture)

D.C. police announced Tuesday night that they have arrested one of two female suspects wanted for the June 23 assault against a gay male drag performer inside a pizzeria on 14th Street, N.W. that was captured on video and created an uproar in the LGBT community.

In a statement released shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, police said 28-year-old Raymone Harding of Gaithersburg, Md., was arrested earlier that day and charged with simple assault in connection with the attack against Miles Denaro, 24.

Denaro told police and the Blade that the two women dragged him by his hair across the floor at Manny & Olga’s pizza carry out restaurant at 1841 14th St., N.W., while they punched and kicked him in the face and body. He said the assault began after the women made fun of his makeup and one of them touched his face and the other slapped him.

He said he was dressed as a woman when he entered the restaurant shortly after finishing a drag performance at the nearby Black Cat nightclub.

A video taken of the incident, which was posted on at least three websites, including briefly on YouTube, shows bystanders laughing and cheering while employees of the restaurant look on without trying to stop the altercation.

Denaro said the women called him a “tranny” and “faggot.”

The second of the two women implicated in the assault filed a police report on the night of the incident accusing Denaro of assaulting her by biting her on her thigh. Denaro said he bit the woman in self-defense as she was pulling out his hair and the other woman held him down on the floor.

“At that time, with my face on the ground in her legs, the only thing to help get out of it was to bite her,” Denaro told the Blade.

The police report filed by the second woman identifies her as Rachel Manna Sahle, 22, also of Gaithersburg.

The police statement announcing the arrest says the case remains under investigation.

hate crime, Manny & Olga's, gay news, Washington Blade

A video of the altercation involving drag performer Miles Denaro early Sunday morning at Manny & Olga’s pizzeria on 14th Street, N.W., shows these two women assaulting Denaro as one of them drags him by his hair across the floor. (Screen captures)

LGBT activists noted that the assault against Denaro was one of six incidents over an eight-day period beginning June 21 in which two transgender women were shot and wounded, a lesbian was shot to death, two other trans women were stabbed and another was sexually assaulted. Police said the sexual assault took place after the woman got into the suspect’s car at the time she met him on the street in the 300 block of 61st Street, N.E. about 3:30 a.m. Saturday, June 29.

Police have said only one of the six incidents were being investigated as a possible hate crime. The other cases appear to be linked to robbery attempts or personal disputes, police said.

Some LGBT activists dispute that assessment, saying they believe several of the victims were targeted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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

  • So she got arrested afterDenaro spat in the ladies face FIRST then got attacked and after the attack told the ladies that they have HIV and he's not arrested? Interesting? This is NOT A WIN for the LGBTQ Community for Denaro is just as wrong as those ladies! This was not HOMOPHOBIC it was a drunken brawl!

    • Nope, first the two women got in his space, criticizing his looks and touching his face. He stepped back, raising his arms and telling them not to touch him. They ignored this, continued touching his face and following him, and only then did he spit. If you watch the video you can see this quite clearly. His spitting was provoked by their repeated invasive actions, and they were still the ones who escalated to physical violence.

    • Nope, first the two women got in his space, criticizing his looks and touching his face. He stepped back, raising his arms and telling them not to touch him. They ignored this, continued touching his face and following him, and only then did he spit. If you watch the video you can see this quite clearly. His spitting was provoked by their repeated invasive actions, and they were still the ones who escalated to physical violence.

    • Get your facts straight obese! World star hip hop son!

    • Those 2 "females" are getting what they deserve. The police reviewed the security footage taken inside the pizzeria and determined from that who violated who FIRST. Everything Denaro did was out of self defense and everything the 2 females did was out of hate and good old fashion jealousy. Guess you cant trust everything you see on a Ghetto Ass Site like World Star Hip Hop. pahaaaaa They should have been charged with Felonies !!

    • Im not going to argue but that video only showed part of the events for the night. If you look carefully the blk beast grabbed Denaro and he said dont touch me several times. Even though spitting was bad it was better than punching her in the face. Fighting is never the answer but being a untolerent asshole isnt either!

  • The other woman who filed a police report claiming SHE was attacked. Will she also be charged with filing a false police report? And they called her tranny etc… while they were attacking, why is this simple assault and not a hate crime? Are the DC police saying that attacking somebody based on their sexual gender orientation is NOT a hate crime?


  • DeNiro is the correct spelling of his last name.

    • Why won't anyone use the right pronoun?… This person obviously identifies as female. 'She' is respectful. Please at least show her at least that much respect. I hope all are held accountable. This is unacceptable. People need to do better for other people.

    • His legal last name is Denaro – which is what is used is police reports or court documents.

    • Because Miles is He? LOL I know his close friend Fox is undergoing change, but last time I've checked Miles was still a drag queen, not a transgender.

    • @Barbara Cate Stull it is sweet of you to try and be considerate and use correct pronouns, but Heidi is a drag queen, not trans. He identifies as male and performs as a female–he does not want to be a woman.

  • Thank you Dominic for clarifying, the Drag Queen identifies as a male, not a tranny. I’m glad the police caught these savages and they aren’t D.C. residents. They were wrong for getting in this man’s or Drag Queen’s face. People need to mind their business and live their own lives.

  • I'm just going to say, an an Asian American, America still has a long way to go when it comes to racism, homophobia and every thing else that segregates us as a country. We are supposed to be the most advance country blah blah blah, but we're still tied down to insane beliefs of religion, race, gender and sexual orientation. It is VERY sad. We are not as "Oh the Great America" as we think we are.

    Watching the video upset me on many levels. Though it was probably a drunken brawl when it comes down to it, it brings the worst and the ugliest out of people. Actually it really brings out how people REALLY feel about things, and in this case, Denaro is prejudiced against the black girl, the women are prejudiced about gay men and and transsexuals, the idiot filming it and the rest of the crowd just wants to see a man in a dress get beat up. No one is completely in the right here. If we can't keep our ugliness to ourselves, just leave everyone alone!

    My biggest kudos goes to the 2 men that separated the fight whoever they are.

    I really wish that in the VERY NEAR FUTURE, HOPEFULLY, this kinda of embarrassment and immaturity will go away. Wishful thinking.

    • Good post Kenny. Just one thing, your comment " We are supposed to be the most advance country, blah blah…" etc. The fact is, you are supposed to be the most advanced coutnry in your own minds. Those of us outside, have quite a different and much more nuanced view of advancement.

  • As a transgendered woman this type of bs is a constant worry to me. That being said, if these ladies accosted me like that there’d be 2 ladies in the hospital for multiple stab wounds and a restaurant sued for doing absolutely nothing to stop it.

  • Given all the violence directed at the GLBT (queer) community, does anyone find ironic or distasteful for Chief of Police Lanier to commend GLBT police task force as she did recently? When the going gets rough, the tough get their picture in the press! The DC community deserves better.

    • the person that recorded the video and posted to a commercial site should have been criminally charged. He was more concerned about posting a video and getting credit from another commercial site rather than turn the evidence over to authorities.

  • Funny,

    I commented last week, but I guess I didn't express the proper outrage, or directed it in a different direction. This rag is getting as bad as the Huffington Post in ignoring opposing views.

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