Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Hate Crimes

A lot of say that there is no such thing as a hate crime, that all crimes are motivated either by hate or greed. While others deny the existence of hate crimes, that there are already laws against assault and battery.

But consider the case of two Jackson Heights trans women,
Attack in Jackson Heights Leaves Two Transgender Women Living in Fear
New York Times Side Street
By David Gonzalez
April 2, 2017

Nayra and Gabriela don’t go out much these days, and not just because the two roommates are homebodies. When they venture outside their apartment in Queens, their hesitation is caused as much by emotional wounds as by physical injuries. The two friends are trans women, and though their Jackson Heights neighborhood has a reputation as a welcoming community for gays and lesbians, hate crimes against transgender women have alarmed many in the area.

On the afternoon of March 17, the two women were entering a McDonald’s restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue when they heard a man screaming behind them. When they turned around, they said, he began hurling insults.

“He called us prostitutes, faggots, bitches,” said Gabriela, 33, who, like her friend, spoke on the condition that her last name not be published because of the nature of the assault as well as lingering fear. “I looked at him and said, ‘Girl, this man is crazy.’ He wanted to hurt us.”

Within seconds, the encounter escalated from insults to injuries. The man rushed them, knocking them to the ground as he pummeled Nayra, whose ankle was fractured in the fall. Gabriella said that she had pounced on him but that he had gotten up, grabbed a broken umbrella and used it to beat her on her face and hands.
What motivate the man to attack them?

Judging by what he called them before he attack them, he despised them because they were trans, not because of anything that they did or said, it was only because they are trans.
Now, what has been called a hate crime by the police has turned a neighborhood they love into one they fear.

“I can’t go out and see too many people,” Nayra, 31, said. “If I have appointments, I’ll take a taxi and come back home. I don’t want to see anybody. If I do, I freeze. If I go outside to smoke and I hear a man’s voice, I panic.”
“People have this idea that New York City is free of violence and progressive,” said Shelby Chestnut, director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. “But violence is still occurring against many marginalized communities, and the trans community is deeply affected by that.
What effect did it have on the target of his hate? It made them afraid to go out in public again. What effect did his attack have on the community? It probably made some trans people fearful to go out in public. And that is the difference between an assault and a hate crime.

We do make a distinction in motive when it comes to crimes, that is why we have different levels of murder; manslaughter is without pre-thought or malice, while premeditated murder carries a stiffer penalty and even that is divided by motive.
“We never had anything happen to us before,” Gabriela said. “Now I walk with fear, like any woman. But now I pay more attention to what I hear around me. I notice more. I look at every little thing. If a couple of people pass by too close to me on the street, I keep walking, wait a little and then look back at them quickly to see if anyone is following me.”

Down in Florida there is another case of possible bias against a trans person, this time it is against a trans woman for defending herself.
Transgender Woman Claims Self-Defense in Killing
NBC 6 Miami
By Willard Shepard
April 3, 2017

A transgender South Florida woman is facing a murder charge in what she says was self-defense, and claims she she wouldn't be facing charges if not for her gender.

The woman, who goes by Ms. Campbell, says she never should have been charged in the first place in the killing of Jackson Marcelin last year.

Court documents show one witness told police "she noticed the subject with a sharp object in his right hand...the subject was taunting the victim...the victim had a wooden stick...and was walking towards the subject."

Another witness said "Prior to the incident I observed the victim, Marcelin Jackson...harassing my roommate Lloyd for at least 2-3 months. During the harassment, Marcelin would approach Lloyd with comments such as 'I want to have sex' and 'I want you to (expletive) my (expletive).'"
So here we have the man harassing a trans woman for months, had a stick in his hand and was verbally assaulting her when she defended herself and she is being tried for murder in a “Stand Your Ground” state. In a state that said it was justifiable to shoot a black teenager who wasn’t doing anything except walking.

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