Police Investigate Attack of Transgender Woman in Dallas

Dallas Police have arrested a man in connection with the brutal daytime attack of a Black transgender woman by several people on April 12.

Edward Thomas, 29, was arrested for his alleged role in the aggravated assault of Muhlaysia Booker, which is being flagged as a hate crime. The attack occurred in the parking lot of the Royal Crest Apartments at 3558 Wilhurt Avenue between 5 and 6 p.m., Dallas Police said in a statement. Video of the assault shows Booker being violently punched and kicked following a minor traffic accident at the apartment complex. The 3-minute video, which shows Booker wearing a pink wig, was posted by Facebook user Taj Mahal

. Mahal told Buzzfeed News that he “happened to stop by” when the assault started. He initially said he was Booker’s close friend, then referred to himself as her manager. About halfway through the video, a man dressed in white can be seen punching Booker in the face repeatedly as she attempts to block the blows. Other men join in, kicking the victim.

Women can be heard in the background urging the men to stop the attack. Booker managed to stumble toward a patch of grass, where a group of women rushed to her side. Dallas Police said they spoke to Booker at an area hospital, where she said the suspect used homophobic slurs during the assault. The video posted on Facebook does not show a confrontation prior to the assault, but a woman can be heard yelling, “Lame a—, f–– a–, [unintelligible] b––,” towards the end.

Authorities said they were investigating the incident and “reviewing all available evidence to determine if it will be classified as a hate crime.” Booker’s family told WFAA that she suffered facial fractures and that her right arm was placed in a sling.

Booker did not respond to The North Star’s request for comment but thanked people for their support in a Facebook post two days after the attack. “Thank you so much its (sic) a blessing being lucky enough to witness the love and respect I’m getting,” she wrote.

In a statement, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that he was “extremely angry” about the mob violence committed against Booker. He said he had contacted Dallas Police to make sure they were fully investigating the incident. “Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community,” Rawlings said. “We will not stand for this kind of behavior.” Leslie McMurray — a transgender woman, educator, and advocacy coordinator at the Resource Center in Dallas — told WFAA that the attack was “sickening.” She added, “It’s utterly terrifying. You could just feel the energy and the malevolence of the crowd escalate as the violence ensued and there was no voice standing up saying stop.”

Advocates have tracked at least 29 deaths of transgender people due to fatal violence in 2017, the Human Rights Campaign said. At least 26 more transgender people were fatally shot or killed in violent ways in 2018. “While the details of these cases differ, it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable,” the nonprofit wrote.

Dallas Police ask that anyone with information or footage of the attack on Booker call Detective Christopher Evans at 214-671-3584 or reach out via email at christopher.evans@dpd.ci.dallas.tx.us.

About the Author

Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.