A woman identified by local activists as transgender was in critical condition this week after being “intentionally” struck by a vehicle driven by an unidentified suspect about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 5, along the 400 block of K Street, N.E., according to D.C. police.
A police report, which doesn’t disclose that the victim is transgender and identifies her by her birth name, says a witness told police that “the driver of a dark colored hatchback vehicle struck Victim 1 and fled the scene without making his identity known.”
It says a second witness reported that the fleeing vehicle struck a parked vehicle after hitting the victim and before traveling eastbound on K Street and south on 5th Street. The victim was taken to an area hospital by ambulance and was listed in critical condition, a police spokesperson said.
“Investigation revealed that Suspect 1 intentionally struck Victim 1 with the vehicle,” according to the police report.
The report says police have classified the incident as an assault with intent to kill and an offense of “leaving after colliding – personal injury.”
“At this point, we don’t have enough evidence to say whether or not this may have been motivated by hate or bias, but it’s something we’re investigating,” said police spokesperson Rachel Reid.
Veteran transgender activist Earline Budd, who serves as a treatment adherence specialist with the D.C. social services group HIPS, which provides services to the transgender community, said she learned from a police source that investigators were making good progress on the case and they expect to make an arrest soon.
Budd said the victim has visited HIPPS’ drop-in center on H Street, N.E., not far from where she was struck by the car.
Ruby Corado, executive director of the LGBT community services center Casa Ruby, said the victim has also visited Casa Ruby’s facilities and is a friend of a Casa Ruby employee.
Another trans woman attacked
Budd noted that the hit-and-run incident took place three days after another transgender woman was struck by a baseball bat wielded by an unidentified male suspect on the 1200 block of Half Street, S.W.
A police report for that incident says the victim told police the incident started when she was “hit by a Roman candle Suspect 1 was shooting off.” The report says the victim approached the suspect after he refused her request to stop shooting the fireworks in her direction.
“Suspect 1 ran,” the report states. “When Victim 1 turned around Suspect 1 started to charge at Victim 1 with a metal bat in his hand. Suspect 1 then began striking Victim 1 with the object,” the report continues.
“Victim 1 fell to the ground [and] once on the ground Suspect 2 began to kick Victim 1, causing the listed injuries,” the report says.
The report says that Suspect 2 was arrested on July 4 on a charge of simple assault after police saw him at a nearby location.
Similar to the incident where the trans woman was hit by the car, the police report for the second incident also does not disclose that the victim was transgender. Also similar to the first incident, Budd said the victim in the second incident is known to some in the transgender community.
Acting D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson, who heads the police division that includes the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit, said police have a longstanding policy of not disclosing a crime victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression unless the crime is specifically related to those factors.
“If the Metropolitan Police Department does not disclose the sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression one can assume that the crime is not related to a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity or gender expression,” he said.
Budd called the policy troubling, saying the LGBT community, including the transgender community, has a right to know when members of their respective communities are victimized by crime, even if the crime isn’t specifically linked to gender identity or sexual orientation.
But after speaking with a D.C. police source that provided additional information about the case of the trans woman hit by the car, Budd said she now fully supports the police policy of not disclosing the gender identity of a transgender crime victim if the crime was not related to the victim’s gender identity and the victim doesn’t publicly identify as transgender.