Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Trans woman ‘saddened’ judge doesn’t agree assault was felony hate crime

A transgender woman who says she was beaten in the Mission District in April told the Bay Area Reporter today (Thursday, June 23) that she’s “saddened” a San Francisco Superior Court judge disagreed yesterday that the case should be tried as a felony hate crime.

In an email, Mia Tu Mutch said, “I am saddened that [Judge Bruce Chan] admitted there was evidence of a hate crime, but then dropped the felony hate crime allegations. The elements of a misdemeanor and felony hate crime are the same, same criteria. I see this as just another smack in the face to the trans community right before Pride.”

District Attorney George Gascón appeared to agree. At a news conference this morning, Gascón said he would press for a jury to hear evidence that he said supports prosecuting the charges as a hate crime.

“We disagree with the judge’s decision in this case,” Gascón said. “… Singling out people because of who they are is not who we are as San Franciscans.”

Defendants Lionel Jackson, 32, and Maurice J. Perry, 37, are charged with assault with force likely to cause great bodily and second degree robbery.

The District Attorney’s Office has alleged the defendants committed the assault and robbery counts because of the victim’s perceived gender and sexual orientation.

Jackson is also charged with possession of a controlled substance.

Jackson and Perry have both been held to answer the assault and robbery charges, but Chan certified the hate crime charge only as a misdemeanor.

Transgender activist Alexandra Byerly has said she heard one of the men say after the incident, “I hate men dressed up like women.”

Michelle Tong, who’s representing Jackson, wasn’t available for comment this afternoon. But Tamara Aperton, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Public Defender’s office, said, “To convict someone, the evidence has to support their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.” She said even though the threshold for guilt is “much, much” lower at a preliminary hearing, Chan “didn’t think there was enough evidence to support those charges.”

David Harrison, who’s representing Perry, also wasn’t available for comment this afternoon.

Tu Mutch has also reported that she was sexually assaulted by someone else after Jackson and Perry allegedly beat and robbed her. She has declined to offer the B.A.R details about what happened during the sexual assault.

But in her email today, Tu Mutch said, “I am extremely frustrated that even though I have called and emailed the person investigating the sexual assault countless times, I have not heard one word from her since the initial conversation in April.”

She said Elaine Economus was the investigator in question. Economus didn’t immediately respond to an interview request.

Assistant District Attorney Victor Hwang, who’s prosecuting the case against Jackson and Perry, said this morning that the sexual assault case is “pending” and declined to comment further.

Tu Mutch told the B.A.R., “I am still recovering from the hate crime and sexual assault, my body still hurts, but my heart hurts more.”

San Francisco Police spokesman Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment this afternoon.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, June 23, 2011 @ 1:18 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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