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DA charges two with hate crimes for anti-transgender attack in Bushwick

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Prosecutors indicted two men who they say attacked a transgender woman in Bushwick last fall, cracking her skull and sending her into a coma.

The suspects face an array of charges, including assault, weapons possession, and menacing, all with hate-crime enhancements. District Attorney Ken Thompson, who has created a special division of his office devoted to hate-crime investigations, said he is going to come down hard on bias-fueled violence.

“This was a cowardly, unprovoked and exceptionally vicious attack on an innocent person who was targeted because of her appearance,” said Thompson. “I must emphasize that hate crimes in any form, be they an attack on a person’s race, gender, sexuality or ethnicity, will not be tolerated.”

Police arrested Brownsville resident Nashawn Sonds, 25, in December. A grand jury indicted him and a 17-year-old, but the indictment was sealed until police arrested the teen on Wednesday.

On Oct. 12 of last year, the woman and a gay male friend were walking on Bushwick Avenue near Halsey Street at 11:20 pm when the defendants and one other man started following and yelling at them, police said.

“We do not want f----ts on our block,” the men supposedly yelled.

Sonds then allegedly picked up a full garbage bag, knocked the victim to ground, beat her, and threw a piece of Plexiglass at her head, knocking her out, breaking her head open, and causing her to have a seizure, according to prosecutors.

The woman went into a coma and is still recovering from her injuries, prosecutors said.

The attack was the second apparent hate crime targeting gay and transgender people in Bushwick in a span of just more than two weeks.

Sonds’s attorney says that his client was not involved in the brutal attack.

“My client is maintaining his innocence,” Gregory Zenon said.

Sonds is in jail on $250,000 bail.

The District Attorney’s Office expects to arraign the 17-year-old on similar charges on Feb. 18.

He is currently in jail on $17,500 bail. His attorney did not return calls for comment.

Both suspects face as many as 25 years in prison.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

bkmanhatman from nubrucklyn says:
thank you Ken Thompson for standing up to the biggots.
Feb. 6, 2015, 3:34 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
I still don't understand this 'hate crime enhancement' thing... So, if this victim was a biological female and had her scull cracked, DA Ken Tompson wouldn't give this the same weight??!! Because "bias-fueled violence" has a different results than "regular" violence?

I'm not saying the motivating factors should be ignored -- the bias aspect of this crime should most certainly be taken into consideration... but it should not determine how motivated the DA is in prosecuting a particular crime!

A gang member cracking the scull of the first person that walks around the corner vs. A man who attacks a member of a minority group because he hates that group. Is there really a difference from the perspective of public safety?

Sexually assaulting a woman is less heinous that sexually assaulting a gay man? or an middle eastern woman? None of these seem to require a "hate crime enhancement" to expect the DA to energetically prosecute the crime...
Feb. 8, 2015, 2:13 pm
Bob from Brooklyn says:
Jimmy from Flatbush, do some more reading so you will understand the purpose of the charge of hate crime.
Feb. 9, 2015, 2:40 pm
Jimmy from Flatbush says:
Bob from Brooklyn -

I have. But thank you for being as dismissive as possible. The Anti-Defamation League gets closest to providing an adequate response to "Why have hate crime laws?" but I still don't find it convincing.

They state: "Whenever a bias-motivated crime is committed, the victim’s entire community is left feeling victimized, vulnerable, fearful, isolated, and unprotected by the law. Such crimes can also lead to reprisals and a dangerous spiral of escalating inter-group tension and violence. Thus, the impact of the crime is far greater than the already terrible impact on the individual."

But... (insert my comment again)
Feb. 9, 2015, 4:51 pm

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