SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said Thursday that he is disappointed in a judge’s decision to dismiss felony hate crime allegations against two men accused of assaulting and robbing a transgender woman near San Francisco’s 16th Street BART station in April.

Lionel Jackson, 32, and Maurice Perry, 37, are accused of attacking the woman on April 1 outside the BART station at Mission and 16th streets.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

At a preliminary hearing that ended Wednesday, Judge Bruce Chan ordered Jackson and Perry to stand trial on charges of assault, second-degree robbery and violating the victim’s civil rights, but dismissed felony hate crime allegations against the pair.

Gascon, speaking at a news conference today at the San Francisco Hall of Justice, said he is disappointed in the judge’s dismissal “despite a strong set of facts” about “an attack we believe was motivated by hate.”

Prosecutors said Jackson and Perry allegedly took the woman’s smartphone, and when she demanded it back, the pair allegedly punched her, knocking her to the ground and yelling epithets at her.

Alexandra Byerly, who was passing out condoms nearby as part of an HIV prevention campaign, testified at the preliminary hearing Monday that as the suspects were running away, one of them said, “Oh, I hate men dressed up as women.”

The two men were arrested shortly after attack, which left the woman hospitalized.

Gascon and Victor Hwang, the prosecutor in the case, said the district attorney’s office plans to re-file the hate crime charge when the case goes to trial.

Hwang said he disagrees with the judge’s decision on the hate crime allegations, especially since the judge ordered the pair to stand trial on the civil rights violation, and the two charges “share the identical elements as to a biased motive.”

Chan had ruled that the primary motive for the attack was financial because it had started as a robbery, Hwang said.

The felony hate crime allegation can add up to three years in state prison to a sentence, while the misdemeanor civil rights violation can only add up to a year in county jail, Hwang said.

Clair Farley of the San Francisco LGBT Community Center said, “This ruling is troubling because it makes all of us feel as though we will not have the same protections and safeties we need if violence happens to us.”

Gascon said, “If we’re serious about being a community of tolerance and a community of equality for all, then we need to start treating all of our citizens with equality, and we believe that this case highlights the lack of sensitivity and the lack of understanding that we have in these areas.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

Comments (5)
  1. JoetheSFRepublican says:

    Why are people surprised. Hate Crime was invented for blacks, to “equal out” the disparity in prisons.

    We need to do away with the whole thing (the very idea of a thought-police is very disturbing) and just prosecute violent crimes severely.

  2. proud_bay_man says:

    What a pig this loser judge Judge Bruce Chan is with this decision.
    If he would have called the woman the N word it would be a completely different outcome.
    May this judge get robbed and beaten to near death getting called every racist name in the book while they are bashing his head into the sidewalk.

  3. proud_non-gay_man says:

    Yay! Another win for the straight people out there.

  4. RealityCheck says:

    Is beating the sh## out of someone because of who or what they represent any more reprehensible than beating the sh## out of someone on general principle? If you beat and rob someone you need to go away for a long time. Just because you decide to do it to someone who is of another race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation does not make the crime any worse.

  5. tarbeaux says:

    sounds like a mugging to me….

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Watch & Listen LIVE