January 30, 2016 at 1:35 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Trans women charged with assault in Casa Ruby incident

police, stabbing, MPD, Metropolitan Police Department

D.C. police on Jan. 27, 2016, arrested two transgender women in connection with an alleged assault of a Casa Ruby staffer. (Photo by Cliff; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Two transgender women were charged with simple assault and destruction of property on Jan. 27 at the offices of the D.C. LGBT community services center Casa Ruby after they allegedly punched and threw several computer monitors at a Casa Ruby staff member.

A D.C. police arrest affidavit says the staff member told police the two women began punching her in the face and body and tossing computer screens at her after acknowledging she had called police earlier that day because of improper behavior by one of the two alleged attackers.

Ruby Corado, the founder and director of Casa Ruby, said the staff member is also a trans woman and the two women arrested in the incident were Casa Ruby clients.

“It’s very sad that this was an internal thing,” Corado told the Washington Blade. “They were actually receiving housing-related services from us.”

Added Corado: “We have a history with these two girls. They have harassed other youth clients and we issued a bar notice for them. They got barred the night before.”

Police charging documents identify one of the two women charged in the case as Torkill Teriyaki Holcomb, 31, of Northeast D.C. The charging documents identify the other woman by her male birth name and list her age as 27. Corado said she goes by the name Janiyah Littman.

Court records show that both women pleaded not guilty to the charges, which are listed as misdemeanors. They and their attorneys couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

The court records show the two were booked at the Third District police station on Jan. 27 and held overnight before being released by a D.C. Superior Court judge the next day on condition that they stay away from 2822 Georgia Ave., N.W., the address of Casa Ruby. The release conditions call for Holcomb to enter a drug treatment program and require Littman to undergo drug testing through the court pre-trial services office.

Both have prior arrest records, according to court documents.

The court records show that Judge Renee Raymond also ordered both women not to “assault, threaten, harass or stalk” the Casa Ruby staff member who they allegedly assaulted and Casa Ruby’s deputy director, Lourdes Ashley Hunter, the nationally known trans rights advocate.

The charging documents say the computer monitors were destroyed when they landed on the floor after Holcomb and Littman allegedly threw them at the Casa Ruby staffer, resulting in the charge of destruction of property under $1,000 in value.

Corado says she has receipts from the purchase of the computer monitors to show they cost more than $1,000.

Holcomb and Littman were scheduled to return to court for a misdemeanor status hearing on Feb. 11.

Legal name change ignored by court?
Although D.C. police used the name Torkill Teriyaki Holcomb in the arrest affidavit they prepared for this case, the official D.C. Superior Court docket uses Holcomb’s birth name, even though records show that a Superior Court judge approved a legal name change for Holcomb in December 2012.

The court docket was opened at the time of Holcomb’s Jan. 28 court arraignment for the Casa Ruby charges and will become the official court record of all future proceedings in the case. It lists the name Torkill Teriyaki Holcomb as an “alias.”

The development is likely to raise concern among trans rights advocates, who have long urged government agencies to respect the wishes of trans people by using the name that reflects the gender to which they have transitioned.

Police and prosecutors have argued that they must use the legal name, which is usually the birth name, of people who are arrested to ensure they are correctly identified in police and court records.

The Blade has made an inquiry with the Superior Court to find out whether it was a mistake or whether it was related to a court policy that Holcomb’s birth name rather than her legally changed name was used on the court’s docket.

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

  • Way to go ladies. That’s one way to make an impression. But, that kind of impression is not going to do any of us any good. Even with the fact that trans women face the most discrimination of the genders in our community, what these two did was beyond the pale.

  • Nice way to live up to ugly stereotypes, ladiez.

    This is why people want to separate the T from the LGB.

  • Was MPD’s LGBTLU (formerly GLLU) involved in this case. If not, why not?
    D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier issued an internal message to all members of the force on Tuesday announcing that the department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit has changed its name to include the words bisexual and transgender.
    “In an effort to be inclusive to all members of the LGBT community, the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit will change its name to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Liaison Unit (LGBTLU),” Lanier said in her message. **

  • The Blade is wrong to criticize the police and courts for using a person’s legal name in legal documents. That is what they are supposed to do. If this person wants to use a new name, there is a legal procedure for name change. We can not just have chaos, with everyone randomly deciding what name they want used at the moment, regardless of their real, legal name. This is the real world, not Facebook.

    • Holcomb *did* change her name legally. The court used a name that was not her legal name in the case, which is utterly absurd. Check your reading comprehension before you fall all over yourself to blame trans women for their own oppression, my friend.

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