Transgender attack: police arrest suspect, release video & address concerns

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Charleston Police have arrested a man in connection to an attack that left a transgender woman unconscious. 

Tuesday night, police announced, Christopher Lamar Price, 30, was arrested for aggravated assault. 

This comes after police say he assaulted a transgender woman after confronting her about her gender outside of Deco nightclub, downtown, on August 19. Surveillance video of the attack is now available. 

In the video it appears that it all started with what seemed to be a verbal argument. Both groups disperse, but eventually come back in contact with each other and are still arguing. That’s when a man appears to knock out a person who has now been identified as a transgender woman. 

The incident led to a town hall meeting Tuesday night hosted by the Alliance for Full Acceptance and the Charleston Police Department. 

Collen Condon, president of AFFA, said the town hall was about building the trust between the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, and Queet community and police. 

“Charleston is supposed to be known for it’s kindness and when a hate crime occurs, it’s important to call them out for what they are and hopefully have a swift reaction from the police department,” Condon said. “We appreciate how they are working now, but it affects everyone, not just the transgender community, but the entire gay community and anybody who might consider themselves as a minority.”

Many people packed the Arthur Christopher Community Center Tuesday night to get many of their questions answered. Especially after CPD’s shake up about originally not saying the attack had anything to do with the person being transgender. 

“If an investigation is ongoing and pending, you should rather say that instead of making any statement at all, so what intention was the statement “she was not attacked because she was transgender” made and who approved that?” asked an attendee of the town hall meeting. 

CPD police chief, Luther Reynolds, responded. 

“Our [Public Information Officer] PIO makes a statement and has the authority to make a message,” Reynolds said. “We have a very very busy city, 24/7 we have events going on all the time, so we try our best to be transparent through the media. In this case, our PIO, Charles Francis, put a message out and that message was to educate the public.I’ve acknowledged we could do it better.”

CPD’s PIO, Charleston Francis, responded as well. 

“When I got the incident report, there was nothing in there that said she was a transgender,” Francis said. “I asked do we know that she was assaulted because she was transgender? They said no, there’s no indication at this time that she was assaulted because she was transgender. That’s what we had at the time, but once we realized and got additional information, that’s when we put out.”

Deputy Chief Naomi Broughton apologized for the mishap. 

“All I did was read the incident report, I was busy,” Broughton said. “I didn’t do what I should have done, which was ask more questions. That won’t happen again, I guarantee you it won’t happen again, so I apologize. “

In the open forum, many other questions were asked and addressed as well. 

“Do you ever ask what they’re preferred name is or what pronouns they go by or do you assume by what you see?” asked an attendee. 

CPD recruiting officer, Terry Cherry responded, “We are having a large conversation on pronouns an dhow to respond to the transgender men and women.”

Suggestions were also given on how police can better protect and understand the LGBTQ community. 

“Rather than put out a statement saying this was not a hate crime, why not phrase it at this time we can not classify it as a hate bias crime, as we gather information that may change. that’s all you have to do,”said  LeAnne Leland, Charleston Area Transgender Group. 

“I just want to make sure we don’t tone police the next time we have a forum about violence in marginalized communities,” said an attendee. 

CPD recognized that the town hall was the first step to enhancing the relationship between cops and LGBTQ members. 

The police department says they are planning a training for officers on how to communicate with the LGBTQ community. That training is set to take place within the next month. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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