Hate crime probe launched after trans women forcibly removed from bar
Police have launched a hate crime investigation after a video appeared to show a group of trans women being forcibly removed by security from a Los Angeles restaurant and bar.
A viral video posted online shows the trans women being physically dragged out of Las Perlas in East 6th Street on Friday, August 23.
One of the women called Jennifer Bianchi repeatedly says: “Don’t touch me like that.”
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) assistant chief Beatrice Girmala confirmed on Twitter that an investigation had been launched.
“LAPD is investigating the incident at Las Perlas restaurant in DTLA,” said Girmala.
“Please know that the department is committed to ensuring the safety of every Angeleno, as well as the right of all to live their true lives in peace, harmony, and free from anxiety or fear.”
The LAPD also told NBC Los Angeles they were treating the incident as a possible hate crime.
Hate crime investigation launched after trans women removed from bar by security.
LAPD is investigating the incident at Las Perlas restaurant in DTLA. Please know that the Department is committed to ensuring the safety of every Angeleno, as well as the right of all to live their true lives in peace, harmony, and free from anxiety or fear#lapd
— Asst Chief Girmala (@LAPDGirmala) August 25, 2019
Las Perlas, meanwhile, has posted an updated statement on Facebook, after initially defending the actions of its security staff.
The bar apologised to the transgender community and said it has hired a new security company, which has received “sensitivity training”.
“We are taking immediate steps to fully investigate what happened on Friday and to address each concern that we’ve received since then,” it said.
The trans women were part of a a group of staff and volunteers from community-based organisation Bienestar Human Services, which provides healthcare for Latino and LGBT+ people.
One of the trans women said that the altercation with security staff happened after the group were “attacked” by a couple in the venue.
After the incident, Bianchi told CBS2/KCAL9: “I think it was really wrong and humiliating, hurtful.”
THREAD: Last night in #DTLA trans women and queer men were forcibly removed from @LasPerlasLA against their will after being subject to #transphobia #hate and #homophobia (1/4) pic.twitter.com/HbiYHJEBlm
— Nicholas Turton 🏳️🌈 (@turton_nicholas) August 24, 2019
The couple allegedly threatened to kill the trans women.
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Another of the women, Khloe Rios, told the TV station:”We were attacked by a couple who was very transphobic, one of my co-workers was actually slapped in the face. The aggressors threatened to come back and shoot us and kill us.”
She added: “The two aggressors were treated with kindness and asked to leave politely. I think that was the main issue – why are you treating people differently because of their gender identity?”
Protestors gathered outside the bar over the weekend, chanting: “Trans lives matter.”
Some LA residents on social media are also calling for a boycott of the restaurant.