By Julietta Bisharyan
PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner announced Aggravated Assault and Ethnic Intimidation charges on Friday against Tymesha Wearing for her alleged role in the attack involving multiple individuals against a transgender woman.
On Aug. 24, Kendall Stephens went outside her home on the 1200 block of South 22nd Street to quell a disturbance caused by a group of six individuals loudly arguing with one another. When she and her 12-year-old daughter left her home, the group started to punch her, calling her derogatory terms, such as “tranny.”
As Stephens and her daughter tried to go back inside, members of the group followed her and continued to attack her. They punched, kicked and scratched her, using a flowerpot to hit her on the head.
“They called me a tranny, they said, ‘You’re a man, we’re gonna get you.’ And they were repeating this all throughout the beating, (they) said that I deserved it,” said Stephens.
Stephens sustained bruised ribs and a gash in her head. Her nose was also fractured in two places.
Philadelphia Police and the District Attorney’s Office (DAO) have continued to work to identify all six individuals involved in the attack.
Police detectives were able to identify Wearing as an assailant using social media postings and evidence from video surveillance. This week, she was arrested by Philadelphia Police and has been charged by the DAO with aggravated assault, conspiracy, criminal trespass, possession of an instrument of crime, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and ethnic intimidation.
Since the hate crimes statute in the Pennsylvania Criminal Code does not cover the LGBTQ community, prosecutors may only charge Ethnic Intimidation involving LGBTQ people as a Summary offense, instead of a misdemeanor or felony charge, in Philadelphia County.
As a result, District Attorney Krasner called on the Pennsylvania General Assembly to amend the hate crimes statute and to extend housing and employment discrimination protections to LGBTQ people.
Neither Pennsylvania law nor federal statutes specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In much of the Commonwealth, it is not unlawful to evict or fire people simply on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“When discrimination is enshrined in our laws and policies, the state gives tacit permission to treat people who present differently as less than equally and fully human. Black trans women are among our most vulnerable loved ones and neighbors – vulnerable to job and housing discrimination, to poverty, and to violence,” District Attorney Krasner said.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 27 transgender or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means this year, the majority of whom were Black and Latinx transgender women.
“I stand with the majority of Pennsylvanians who support equal treatment for everyone under the law, and urge our representatives in Harrisburg to ensure LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination and hate. It is shameful that in the year 2020, the Commonwealth has yet to recognize the humanity and dignity of all of us,” Krasner added.
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