Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 50 / 14 December 2017
 

Jailed couple describes
trans assault

NEWS


s.hemmelgarn@ebar.com

Samantha Hulsey. Photo: Courtesy ABC7
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The man accused of attacking a transgender woman in San Francisco's South of Market district Sunday has told the Bay Area Reporter that the incident started when she bumped into him and his fiance and called him the n-word.

Dewayne Kemp, 36, and Rebecca Westover, 42, both of San Francisco, are facing assault, hate crime, and other allegations after an incident involving Samantha Hulsey and Daira Hopwood, who are transgender, that occurred at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday near the Holiday Inn at 50 Eighth Street.

According to Rae Raucci, a friend of Hulsey's who's shared a description of the incident, a couple "accosted" Hulsey and Hopwood "and began shouting obscenities; the woman threw a cup of hot coffee at them, and the man punched Samantha in the face at least twice."

Hulsey and Hopwood didn't respond to interview requests. But in separate jailhouse interviews Tuesday, Kemp and Westover were stunned by the case that's being made against them.

"It's very unfortunate that a member of the transgender community would use its political status to cripple two individuals who have nothing against [LGBT] people at all," Kemp, who's straight, said. (Westover said she's bisexual.)

Saying that both he and Westover are three strike candidates, he added, "We do not fucking deserve to spend the rest of our lives in prison when we were the ones that were wronged."

Kemp said that the incident started after he and Westover had finished selling Christmas ornaments near the Civic Center BART station Sunday. They went to a nearby shop for coffee and then walked down Eight Street to head home.

Two people were walking close behind them.

"They were already up on our asses," Kemp said, so he and Westover separated "to let them by."

As Hulsey passed between them, she intentionally bumped them, he said.

"I said, 'Damn, nobody says excuse me anymore,'" he recalled.

Hulsey turned around and said, "Fuck you, [n-word], you can get the fuck out of my town," Kemp said.

Westover got "pissed off" and splashed Hulsey with her coffee, he said, and that prompted Hulsey to punch Westover in the face, knocking a tooth loose.

Wanting to protect his fiance, Kemp punched Hulsey, who he said, "still [had] the strength of a man."

"I punched her maybe three or four times," he said. After his first punch, Hulsey was swinging at him, too, he said.

"Was my intention to create great bodily injury to this individual? No," Kemp said. "Was it to eliminate the threat to my queen? Yes."

Kemp said that during the incident, a Holiday Inn employee emerged and "swung his belt buckle at me," striking him in the shoulder and collarbone.

Police soon arrived. Kemp attempted to explain what had happened and wanted to file a police report against Hulsey and the hotel worker, but he said the officers wouldn't let him.

Kemp acknowledged that he'd used a slur after Hulsey called him the n-word.

"I said, 'Fuck you, fag.' That's all," Kemp said.

Westover, whose account of what happened Sunday closely matched Kemp's, cried through much of her interview Tuesday.

"I don't understand why I'm in jail and nobody seems to care that this individual assaulted me," she said.

Westover said after Hulsey called Kemp the n-word, she threw her coffee at Hulsey, ran toward her, and asked her what she'd said.

That's when Hulsey "socked me in the face," she said, and Hulsey and Kemp started fighting. Westover showed a reporter where the loose tooth was but said she'd been told not to push on it.

Westover, who said that the coffee wasn't hot when she threw it, added that after the brawl between Kemp and Hulsey, she hit Hulsey.

Among other differences between Kemp and Westover's stories, Westover said no anti-LGBT slurs had been used.

Raucci, who didn't say how she knew what had happened, said Hulsey had "nasty cuts on her lips" and was treated at St. Francis Memorial Hospital.

Hulsey and Raucci had been partners in January when Brodes Joynes, 54, allegedly tried to fatally stab Hulsey and called them "faggots" in an incident that started on a Muni bus. Hulsey was 24 at the time. (Joynes remains in custody. His next court date is Wednesday, November 25.)

 

Charges

Police booked Kemp on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy, and two counts of making criminal threats, all felonies, along with parole violation, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a hate crime enhancement, Officer Grace Gatpandan, a police spokeswoman, said.

Gatpandan said Westover was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and conspiracy, both felonies, a misdemeanor battery count, a count of being a convicted felon in possession of pepper spray, and a hate crime enhancement.

The weapons used in the incident were fists and the coffee that was thrown, she said. When police arrived at the scene, she said, the first victim was bleeding from the face.

Gatpandan said a second victim, who wasn't injured, is a 60-year-old man who came to Hulsey's aid after she was attacked.

During the incident, statements were made about Hulsey's gender identity and the second victim's race or color, Gatpandan said.

Asked about police not allowing Kemp or Westover to file a report, Gatpandan said officers took statements from the two suspects, but she didn't have information on what they'd said.

The first court date for Kemp and Westover was set for Wednesday, just before the B.A.R. went to press, city records show. Kemp was being held without bond. Westover's bond was listed as $166,000.

In his interview with the B.A.R. Tuesday, Kemp first said, "I would plead to nothing," but then said, "I would plead to assault. Honestly, yes, I did assault that individual."

Kemp, who denied making threats and said he hadn't been carrying drug paraphernalia, raised his orange jail shirt to show a knot on his right shoulder from the belt buckle strikes, but it seemed to have disappeared, as there was no obvious wound.

As far as his criminal history, Kemp said he was once convicted for an assault on a police officer in Sacramento. (He said the officer had choked him.) He said he spent time in prison for it, eventually getting parole.

Kemp became aggravated when asked for more information about the Sacramento incident.

"I will end this shit so fucking fast you have no i-fucking-dea," he said, claiming the B.A.R. was trying "to demonize" him. He finally said he would continue talking, but he wouldn't discuss his criminal history any more.

Westover said she was convicted 20 years ago of second-degree robbery in San Jose. She was paroled after serving years in prison, she said.

She said she couldn't imagine pleading to anything.

"I don't feel like I'm in the wrong, other than me hitting [Hulsey] back after he hit me," Westover said, using a male pronoun.

Kemp and Westover both expressed a desire for video footage from the Holiday Inn to be shared, claiming it would support their case.

Gatpandan said she couldn't discuss details from any video.

A call to the Holiday Inn wasn't returned.






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