Police in Dallas have arrested a 29-year-old man in connection to the brutal beating of a transgender woman following a traffic accident that was caught on video.
Edward Thomas was taken into custody at 9.30pm on Sunday ‘for his role’ in the attack on 23-year-old Muhlaysia Booker on Friday, and booked into the county jail on a charge of aggravated assault causing a serious bodily injury.
Police did not say whether anyone else would be arrested in the beating, which happened in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people, but said the case is being investigated as a hate crime.
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Edward Thomas, 29 (left), has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault causing a serious bodily injury for his alleged role in the attack on transgender woman Muhlaysia Booker (right) in Dallas on Friday
Muhlaysia Booker, 23, seen standing in the street as a crowd forms following an accident in Dallas, Texas, on Friday afternoon
Footage from the attack posted on Friday to Facebook shows a man in a white shirt viciously beating Booker, apparently into unconsciousness, while the crowd looks on and homophobic slurs are shouted. Several women eventually carried the victim’s limp body to safety.
Family members told station
The video documenting the attack shows Booker, sporting a pink wig and a blue top, being beaten and called names. At points she appears to be saying something to the gathering onlookers, but her voice can’t be made out in the available footage.
A man dressed in white was the first to attack Muhlaysia Booker in the cell phone video, throwing her to the ground
The person who seemingly filmed the video posed with the same man who apparently attacked Muhlaysia Booker
The video appears to flip into selfie mode at one point, and the person recording appears to be laughing with a man in a white shirt and pants.
That same individual in white later appears to charge at Booker, throwing her to the ground. He then punches her repeatedly as two or three other individuals join in to kick her while she is down on the ground.
Some voices can be heard screaming for the attack to stop, and eventually Booker, after having been beaten across the parking lot of the apartment complex, is aided by a group of women who get her into a car before taking her to a hospital.
The man in white repeatedly punched Booker on the ground before a group of other men joined in with kicks and stomps
When Booker attempted to get up off the ground, attackers continued to send her back to the asphalt
Booker was thrown about across the parking lot as she kept receiving punches and kicks during the horrifying ordeal
The video of the incident posted by a Facebook user Taj Mahal was accompanied with the caption ‘THIS IS A HATE CRIME! Muhlaysia Booker Don’t Worry Sis I Got The Video For Dallas Police Department This Is A Hate Crime And Everyone Who Participated Will Be Prosecuted!’
Pierre Booker, Muhlaysia’s father, called the person responsible for the attack a ‘coward,’ and told
Eventually a group of women are able to intervene and get in between Booker and her attackers
The women help Booker across the grass and help her get to a hospital
‘All I tell them you know is I love them. I love them for whoever they are. And I’m not God, I’m not the judge, I’m not the jury,’ Muhlaysia’s grandmother added, saying she hoped police view the attack as a hate crime.
‘So all I pray is for these people to find it in their hearts to accept people just like God does.’
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings posted a statement to Facebook saying that he watched the video and was angered by what appeared to be ‘mob violence’ directed against the woman.
‘I am in contact with the chief and she assured me that the Dallas Police Department is fully investigating, including the possibility that this was a hate crime,’ wrote Mayor Rawlings.
‘Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community. We will not stand for this kind of behavior.’
Family members said Booker (left and right) suffered facial fractures and injured her right arm in the attack
Leslie McMurray, a transgender woman who is an education and advocacy coordinator at the Resource Center in Dallas, called the attack ‘terrifying.’
‘You could just feel the energy and the malevolence of this crowd escalate as the violence ensued and there was no voice standing up saying stop,’ McMurray told WFAA. ‘There’s no reason that our lives are less valuable than someone else or that we should be someone’s punching bag just because we’re transgender.’
Last November, the FBI reported that 7,175 hate crimes were committed in the United States in 2017, the most recent year for which the agency had compiled data.
Of those, 1,130 were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias. The data showed a 5 pr cent increase in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias and a 4 per cent decrease in hate crimes motivated by gender identity bias. Of crimes motivated by gender identity bias, 106 targeted transgender people, a 1 per cent uptick from 2016.