PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Three people, including a transgender woman, were assaulted in Old Town on Thursday night, prompting a bias crime investigation.
Portland police said the 3 victims were in a parking lot near in the 300 block of West Burnside Street around 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 12 when they were attacked by another group. A transgender woman was reportedly at the food cart area when she and some friends went up to a group of people to ask for a cigarette. She started getting verbally harassed for her sexual identity, and a fight started.
By the time police arrived, the men who had hit her in the head were gone. One of the men who helped defender her reportedly suffered a broken nose. Police are looking for witnesses.
The head of Oregon Basic Rights said there is definitely an increase in these types of hate crimes in Oregon.
“I think we are in a place, even here in Portland, Oregon, where people feel unsafe walking down the streets,” said Nancy Haque, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon. “That’s not okay. We need to rebuild a culture of kindness and acceptance and stand up for each other.”
The Oregon Legislature passed Senate Bill 577 this summer, which the Governor signed into law. The bill makes a hate crime a felony, and adds gender identity to the protected classes under it. It also allows prosecutors to charge an individual with the felony crime. In the past, only if two or more people threatened to harm or hurt someone based on their sexual identity could be charged with a felony. But there’s more to be done to increase tolerance.
“Every day transphobia, homophobia, racism happens in our day-to-day interactions, and I think it’s really important for people who are not directly affected to stand up for their friends and neighbors,” said Haque.
KOIN6 News reached out to the victim in this case, and were told be friends that she has received so much hate mail from this incident that she does not want to be on camera.
If you have information or witnessed the attack, contact Det. Shaye Samora at email@example.com or 503.834.0416.