Transgender woman seen on video in brutal attack speaks out for first time

DALLAS, Texas (KTRK) -- A transgender woman who was seen on video being brutally beaten in Dallas says she remains strong with support from the community.

Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was attacked last week outside an apartment complex, where several people were seen kicking and punching her as bystanders watched.

Over the weekend, Booker addressed a crowd of supporters about the attack.

"This time I can stand before you; whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial," Booker said. "I am overwhelmed by your presence, your donation to support of my transgender family and allies who want to see justice served in this case. I will remain strong with your support."

Edward Thomas was arrested days later for his alleged role in the assault. According to the arrest warrant, someone told Thomas he would get $200 to beat Booker.

Activists are now calling for him to be charged with a hate crime. Police said homophobic slurs were also used during the beating.

Last November, the FBI reported that 7,175 hate crimes were committed in the United States in 2017, the most recent year for which the agency had compiled data. Of those, 1,130 were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias. The data showed a 5 percent increase in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias and a 4 percent decrease in hate crimes motivated by gender identity bias. Of crimes motivated by gender identity bias, 106 targeted transgender people, a 1 percent increase from 2016.
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