DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A transgender woman is speaking out for the first time after she was brutally beaten at a south Dallas apartment complex in a video that quickly spread through social media.
“This time I can stand before you; whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial,” Muhlaysia Booker said.
The 23-year-old was attacked on April 12 outside the Royal Crest apartments on Wilhurt Avenue. Cellphone video caught the incident as it unfolded.
Multiple people could be seen punching and kicking Booker in the face, head and body as bystanders watched. Homophobic slurs were allegedly used during the attack, according to police.
On Saturday, Booker issued a statement while being surrounded by supporters.
“This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the City of Dallas. But I want to sincerely thank all of you guys for coming out, for support and fairness. And just as I am overwhelmed by your presence, your donation to support of my transgender family and allies who want to see justice served in this case. I will remain strong with your support. Due to the impending criminal investigation, I will not make any further comments today, except for gratitude,” she said.
Police arrested Edward Thomas who was identified as a suspect in the beating. He was charged with aggravated assault.
According to the arrest affidavit, someone told Thomas he would receive $200 if he beat Booker.
Activists are calling for Thomas to also be charged with a hate crime. Dallas police have asked the FBI if this case fits that charge.
Supporters are also calling for more arrests in the beating, and police have said it’s a possibility.