A judge in Michigan ruled that a man could be prosecuted for “ethnic intimidation” because he attacked a transgender woman.
The case concerns an attack caught on video this past July in Detroit. Deonton Rogers was harassing Kimora Steuball at a gas station convenience store
They got into an argument and she told him that she’s transgender.
The argument escalated and Rogers pulled out a gun.
“He was like, ‘well I’ll kill you,’ you’ll kill who?” Steuball told the court. “I’m transgender. I know what transgenders go through. We go through this everyday. Getting attacked, guns pulled out on us, shot at, shot at, robbed. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know what was going to happen to me. I was terrified for my life.”
She said that she tried to take the gun away from Rogers, but he had his finger on the trigger. During the struggle, he shot her in the shoulder.
Prosecutors asked the court to apply hate crimes charges.
“This was a hate crime – this man attacked another individual because she was transgender,” said assistant prosecutor Jaimie Powell-Horowitz.
Michigan’s hate crimes law does not include sexual orientation and gender identity, but it does include“race, color, religion, gender, or national origin.”
“There are no protections unfortunately for people in the LGBTQ community,” said Judge Willam McConico.
McConico ruled that a charge of ethnic intimidation based on gender could be applied in this case because Steuball was targeted for being transgender.
Rogers faces several other charges, including discharging a firearm causing serious injury, felonious assault, felon in possession of a firearm (because he was already a felon at the time of the attack), fourth-degree child abuse (a child was in the gas station), and a felony firearms violation.