Charleston police connect with community after arrest in attack of transgender woman

Police apologized for a communication that inferred the attack was not a hate crime targeted at trans people

(Photo: Stock)


Members of the LGBTQ community in Charleston say they are relieved now that a man who allegedly attacked a transgender woman leaving a bar was arrested Tuesday night.

But with security concerns still high, Charleston police took notice and listened to dialogue about increasing hate crimes during a town hall meeting, the Post and Courier reports.

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An advocacy group called The Alliance For Full Acceptance partnered with the Charleston Police Department for a town hall discussion following the Aug, 19 attack, which has been classified as bias-motivated.

The 34-year-old unidentified transgender woman and her sister were allegedly attached by Christopher Lamar Price , 30, after leaving a bar around 2 a.m., according to reports.

The man first attacked the sister, kicking her in the stomach. When the transgender woman tried to help, the man punched her in the head, rendering her unconscious. The man also used racial slurs about the transgender woman’s identity, investigators said.

The victim is recovering.

Price was arrested and faces a charge of second-degree assault and battery, according to jail records.

A panel including Police Chief Luther Reynolds, Deputy Chief Naomi Broughton, two other officers and several LGBTQ advocates, met with the community, according to reports.

Chief Reynolds apologized for the wording of an initial statement that was sent to community members indicating that the attack wasn’t a hate crime. It said the victim “wasn’t assaulted because she’s a transgender.”

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The statement was later corrected.

“In my mind, there should be no space between us. Zero,” Chief Reynolds said. “We should be in this together. I know that’s not where we’re at today, but that’s where we need to be.”

The police department vowed to give officers sensitivity training on how to deal with investigations of LGBTQ victims, including the use of the correct pronoun to address transgender individuals.

“I hate hearing that my co-workers and fellow officers don’t call you by the right pronoun or the right name after you’ve repeatedly told them, or they’re condescending,” said Officer Jessica Hans. “We are trying to change that, but we can’t do it without y’all.”