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Two arrested in hate crime attack, robbery of transgender women in LA

Two arrested in hate crime attack, robbery of transgender women in LA
© ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

Two men were arrested in an alleged hate crime attack and robbery of three transgender women in Los Angeles this week, according to a police report.

The prime suspect is Carlton Callway, 29, who was arrested Thursday in Bakersfield on suspicion of hate crime enhancement, CW affiliate KTLA reported.

Justin Eisenberg, deputy chief for the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) West Bureau, also announced that Willie Walker, 42, was arrested in Hollywood on suspicion of extortion.

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"What was particularly callous about these crimes was the actions of the onlookers, who are recorded and appear to celebrate the assaults rather than render aid and assist the victims," Eisenberg told reporters in a news briefing Thursday.

The incident occurred on Monday around 2 a.m. and was caught on video and depicted a group of people jeering as the women were robbed and assaulted.

One other man, 22-year-old Davion Williams, is reportedly at large in connection with the crimes against the women. 

Police did not provide details about Williams's suspected whereabouts but said he is accused of assault with a deadly weapon.

The men currently in custody were identified through tips provided to the police department by LGBTQ activists, said LAPD Capt. Steve Lurie.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore released a video statement saying that the behavior and actions depicted in this incident "have no place in Los Angeles."

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Transgender women of color are among some of the most vulnerable people in society, subject to abuse and hate crimes, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

In 2019, 26 transgender people were killed in America, and 22 have been killed in 2020; however, the number is likely higher for both figures.

“To see this level of violence celebrated gleefully, so much so the perpetrator himself posted it on social media — it’s like a sucker punch to all of us who believe in civilized behavior and humane treatment of one another,” said L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell.