2 men charged with hate crime in attack on transgender women in Hollywood

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Officials have charged two people in a video-recorded attack on three transgender women in Hollywood back in August, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.

Prosecutors accuse 29-year-old Carlton Alexander Callaway of befriending the victims earlier in the day and later assaulting them with a steel rod near Hollywood Boulevard and Wilcox Avenue.

Davion Anthony Williams, 22, allegedly joined the attack using a ride-share scooter, and also stole from one of the women.

The incident happened around 2 a.m. Aug. 17 and was streamed live on Instagram by people who did not try to help the victims. Footage shows the women pleading for help as bystanders watched and laughed.

A police SUV with its sirens blaring approached at one point but ultimately passed the scene. An LAPD spokesman previously said that the officers were responding to an unrelated emergency but that the agency was investigating the details.

LAPD Capt. Steve Lurie said the assailants made “horrible, derogatory remarks” about the women, prompting a hate crime investigation.

With the help of tips from the public, including LGBTQ activists, Callaway was arrested three days later and another man, Willie Walker, was arrested two days after the incident, according to police.

LAPD said Walker lived on the street in Hollywood and that patrol officers in the area recognized him in the video. They arrested him on suspicion of extortion, but the District Attorney’s Office said his case was declined because of insufficient evidence.

Callaway was found in Bakersfield. It’s unclear when police detained Williams, who was still at large at the time of the other two men’s arrest.

Callaway has been charged with the following: one felony count each of grand theft from the person of another, second-degree robbery, criminal threats, attempted second-degree robbery, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery with serious bodily injury.

Meanwhile, Williams has been charged with one felony count each of grand theft and assault with a deadly weapon.

The case includes allegations of hate crime, the DA’s office said.

Callaway could face up to 13 years and four months in prison if convicted as charged, while Williams could spend up to eight years and four months behind bars.

LAPD continues to investigate the case, the DA’s Office said.

At least 27 people who are transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed in the U.S. in 2019, most of them Black, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Officials expect a higher toll this year, said LAPD’s LGBTQ outreach coordinator, Assistant Chief Beatrice Girmala.

Commenting on the incident in Hollywood, L.A. City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said his district does not welcome such conduct. He also asked the onlookers to contact him so they could apologize to the victims.

“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,” O’Farrell said.

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