Dallas police investigators are now saying that Edward Thomas, the 29-year-old man arrested Sunday in connection with an assault on trans woman Muhlaysia Booker, was paid $200 by someone in the crowd to attack Booker, according to a report by CBS DFW, Channel 11.
The report indicates that Booker, 23, accidentally backed into another car at the complex, and was then held at gunpoint by the driver of the other car, who wouldn’t let her leave until she paid for the damage. A crowd gathered around them and someone in the crowd offered Thomas $200 to attack Booker. Video shows Thomas and other men punching and kicking Booker as she lays on the ground, with a large crowd standing around watching until several women step in and drag Booker to safety.
CBS reports that Booker suffered a concussion, fractured wrists and other injuries.
Police are said to be looking for another attacker who allegedly stomped Booker’s head, and reports on social media suggest that at least one attacker used brass knuckles on Booker during the assault.
Dallas police have arrested 29-year-old Edward Thomas in connection with the aggravated assault on a transgender woman last Friday, April 12, at an apartment complex in South Dallas. Police have also tagged the attack as a hate crime. Police arrested Thomas at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, April 14, according to Dallas PD’s LGBT Liaison Officer Amber Roman.
As of this morning (Monday, April 15) at 10:30 a.m., Thomas remained in Dallas County jail on charges of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. Bond is set at $75,000.
The attack happened between 5 and 6 p.m. Friday after a minor traffic accident in the parking lot of the Royal Crest Apartments, 3558 Wilhurt Ave. “While driving in the parking lot the victim was involved in a minor traffic accident,” Officer Roman said in an email. “During a verbal altercation regarding the accident, a male suspect began to physically assault the victim before several other suspects joined in the assault. The victim sustained serious bodily injuries and was transported to UT Southwestern by witnesses at the scene.”
Police were alerted to the attack when hospital officials called them at about 11:20 p.m. Friday.
Videos of the attack were posted online and drew both locally and nationally. Openly-gay Dallas City Councilmen Omar Narvaez and Adam Medrano released a statement calling on police to treat the incident as a hate crime, and Mayor Mike Rawlings also issued a statement condemning the assault.
A rally planned for Tuesday evening at the Royal Crest apartment complex has been canceled.
“So many people feel so comfortable with us standing with them when they need us, but we can’t stand with the transgender community when they need us?” commented Hood, a local Black Lives Matter organizers and former director of Hope For Peace and Justice. Referring to recent high-profile incident in Deep Ellum in which a white man attacked a black woman, Hood continued, “There were hundreds of people in the street [protesting] after that, but nothing now when a black trans woman is attacked? We’ve got to do better.”
Those accused in the attack on the transgender woman, whom Hood identified as Muhlaysia Booker, are all black.
Hood placed some of the blame for what he called “a classic hate crime” on a “culture of transphobia that has always existed” and on “toxic masculinity.” He also called the LGBT community to task for classism that causes LGBT people with more privilege to ignore attacks on LGBT people of color and poor LGBT people.”
“Just because people support the LGBT community, that doesn’t mean they support black LGBT people or poor LGBT people. There is an element of classism at work here that shows as a lack of concern for trans women of color in these [South Dallas] communities,” Hood said. “We won marriage equality, and some people thought that the battle was over, but it isn’t. It breaks my heart to still see people treating each other this way.”
Hood also said criticized the onlookers who did nothing tp help Booker as she was being assaulted. “It is just disgusting beyond the pale that nobody stepped in to help her,” he said. “Some might claim that, oh, they aren’t educated on transgender issues, that they didn’t know any trans people. But they did know her. She lives right there in that community. And lack of education is no excuse to beat the shit out of somebody or to stand and watch as someone else does it.”
— Tammye Nash