The story of a transgender woman in Texas who was allegedly attacked Friday by a “mob” shouting homophobic slurs over a minor traffic accident took another turn when the man arrested for attacking her claimed he was paid $200 to commit the assault, according to Dallas police.
In a video that circulated over the weekend, the victim, 23-year-old Muhlaysia Booker, is hit repeatedly by a man as a large crowd gathers near an apartment complex. After what appear to be multiple blows to her face, she falls to the ground. As people in the crowd scream for them to stop, a few other men begin kicking her and stomping on her. After Booker stumbles away, a group of women lift her up and, according to police, carry her to a car to take her to the hospital. She sustained injuries to her face, as well as a fractured wrist and a concussion.
The man who punched her, later identified as 29-year-old Edward Dominic Thomas, was arrested Sunday night on aggravated assault charges. Thomas admitted to the assault, police said. Police said on Monday they have also identified a suspect who stomped on Booker’s face, but they had not yet arrested him, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Police say that just before the attack, Booker had accidentally backed into another car. The driver of that car told police he ran Booker off the road to prevent her from leaving the scene. Booker told police that that man had pointed a gun at her and warned her not to leave without paying for the damage to his car.
At that point, police say, Thomas says he was offered $200 by someone in the crowd to beat Booker. At the hospital, Booker told police that some of her assailants had used homophobic slurs during the attack.
Dallas police said on Monday they are investigating whether the assault met the criteria of a hate crime and that they have contacted the FBI. In the meantime, police are looking at recordings from the scene to try to determine who else participated in the assault and who, if anyone, offered Thomas $200. They said they expect to make more arrests soon.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings on Saturday morning condemned the attack as an act of hate. “I am extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman,” he said in a statement. “Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community. We will not stand for this kind of behavior.”