An 18-year-old Washington, D.C., man faces an aggravated assault charge for deliberately striking a transgender woman with his car early July 5.
According to Mic, police are still evaluating the case to determine if the hit-and-run was a hate crime, although friends of the victim say there’s no doubt in their minds that the offender purposely targeted the victim due to her gender identity.
After a week of recovery, the victim, 26-year-old Davon Washington, is still in critical but stable condition.
On the night of the hit-and-run, Washington was allegedly walking with a group of friends before she was approached by a vehicle whose occupants asked for her phone number. Her friend says that she was not interested and continued to walk with the group before dancing close to the middle of the street.
She was then struck by the car that police believe was being driven by the suspect, Startwaune Anderson. Investigators acknowledged that more arrests may occur if it is found that there were other people in the car who share responsibility for the crime.
Friends say that the force of the car was so intense that Washington was left unconscious. Washington, D.C.’s LGBT unit is focusing on the case to ensure sensitivity during the investigation.
Transgender individuals in D.C. face discrimination in nearly all sectors of society. Even with a college degree, they are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as the general population, and they have a 41 percent chance of being attacked by residents or staff members of shelters.
And some of the issues facing transgender people in D.C. are representative of larger trends nationwide, like President Donald Trump’s recent promise to take away Obama-era protections for transgender students in schools. Transgender folks face particularly high levels of violence across the United States as well. In 2016 alone, 27 transgender individuals were murdered, making it the deadliest year on record for trans victims.
This recent incident only mirrors the horrific violence transgender individuals face on a regular basis, and it demonstrates how imperative it is to implement greater protections for the transgender community.
Thumbnail Credit: Flickr: Ted Eytan