Trans woman pistol-whipped, shot at in Midtown

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imageA transgender woman who was attacked in Midtown early Friday after an apparent sex-for-pay meeting was pistol-whipped in the head and nearly shot, police said.

The new details about the attack on Friday were included in an incident report released Monday by the Atlanta Police Department. The victim, identified in the report as 30-year-old Gary Lovejoy, was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital to be treated for head and ear wounds shortly after the attack, which took place about 6:40 a.m. on Pine Street in Midtown.

Atlanta police described Lovejoy as transgender in initial reports about the incident on Friday. In the incident report, witnesses refer to Lovejoy as a woman and Officer A.C. Huntley, repeatedly refers to Lovejoy as “he” in the report.

The incident report details a struggle between Lovejoy and the suspect, identified in the report as Ausher Sean, who fled after the attack in a blue 2008 sedan. The altercation apparently started when the two returned from a house on Old National Highway after Sean paid Lovejoy for sex. The suspect stopped on Pine Street and demanded that Lovejoy return his money.

“I’m tired of y’all bitches taking my money,” Sean says, according to the police report.

He then brandished a large black pistol and pointed it at Lovejoy. The victim grabbed the gun and it discharged, with the bullet grazing Lovejoy’s thigh. Lovejoy grabbed the gun and struck the suspect in the head and face before attempting to flee. The struggle continued outside the vehicle and the suspect took the gun and continued striking Lovejoy when he realized the weapon wouldn’t fire. Sean also bit off a small piece of Lovejoy’s left ear.

The victim was able to report a partial license plate number of the suspect’s vehicle. A blood swab from the gun’s magazine clip was sent to a crime lab. Read the narrative from the police report. (pdf)

Immediately after the assault, police commanders notified Officer Patricia Powell, the department’s LGBT liaison, of the incident. Powell will work with investigators to monitor the incident and talk with the victim, police said.

The quick notification of Powell came two days after the police department said it would reiterate to officers that agency policy dictates Powell is to be contacted when a bias crime with LGBT victims is reported.

A police spokesperson said that Friday’s incident hasn’t been classified as a bias crime, but that Powell should be made aware of such assaults.

The issue of notifying the department’s gay liaison of incidents involving LGBT people surfaced in the wake of the July 2 armed robbery of a gay couple in Piedmont Park. Powell was not notified of the attack until three days later. Atlanta police said Wednesday the delay violated department policy. Six people were arrested shortly after last week’s attack.

Chief George Turner said during a press conference Friday that the police department is actively working with the LGBT community through the liaison to find “out exactly how that community wants to be policed.” Turner’s appearance came as Mayor Kasim Reed nominated him to become the city’s next top cop. Reed said he expects the police department to improve how it works with the city’s LGBT residents.

“I expect a chief and a police department that will seek the counsel and direction of the LGBT liaison, Officer Patricia Powell, on all matters relating to the fair, just and appropriate treatment of the valued citizens of this community,” Reed said. “In addition, our police force will live up to its creed and protect and serve the LGBT community with an ever-heightened sensitivity, responsiveness and commitment to getting it right. We have work to do there.”

On Thursday, the police department announced the creation of a nine-person LGBT advisory board that will work with Powell and asked the public for nominations to fill it.

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