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.
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.