US: Suspect in Atlanta train attack uses ‘trans panic’ defence
A man suspected of assaulting two transgender women on an Atlanta train claims he panicked and attacked them because they came on to him.
A video of the attack was posted on Flyvidz by an onlooker with the title “2 T******S GET INTO A FIGHT WITH 2 GUYS ON ATL MARTA!”, and has 2.9 million views to date.
Luther Thomas and Frederick Missick were both arrested and charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the attack, and have been banned from the rail network.
Thomas yesterday told WSB that he regrets the attack, but claims he only attacked them because they were ‘coming on to him’.
Misgendering the women, he said: “These guys they came on to me. Even the one that looked exactly like a female said she liked guys with dreads.
“I hate that it did happen. I hate that I lost my temper.
“If I could do it all over again I probably would have moved to another car.
“I don’t hate gay people at all, you know, that’s not in my character.
“But when you’re are a gay guy and you come on to a straight guy and I tell you that I don’t go that way, then just let it be.”
Crosby and Woods reportedly left Atlanta following the incident.
In law, the ‘gay panic’ defence argues that an attack is justifiable if a gay victim hit on the perpetrator beforehand.
It has been used in the past in several high-profile cases to justify brutal homophobic attacks, and to argue for reduced sentences.
It was most famously used by Aaron McKinney during his trial for the murder of gay teen Matthew Shepard, claiming that Shepard provoked him into the murder by coming on to him.