Assault Charges Dismissed But…

We recently had a client’s case dismissed – she was facing assault charges after she was attacked for, in the attacker’s opinion, using the wrong bathroom…

She is transgender. Which means, under constant scrutiny over which bathroom she uses and constant threat of attacks from homophobic, ignorant people who will use any excuse to hurt people who don’t look, worship, or… pee… like them.

What happened and why was she arrested? Why are people still trying to dictate which bathroom a person uses in 2019?

If you didn’t know, hate crimes are not illegal in SC. Regardless, if you are attacked because of your sexual orientation, don’t you have a right to defend yourself?

Transgender Woman Assaulted for Using the Wrong Bathroom in North Myrtle Beach

A transgender woman went to see a band at Fat Harold’s Beach Club in North Myrtle Beach. She used the bathroom (gasp) before heading out…

As she tried to leave the bathroom, a man, beer in one hand, blocked her path and refused to let her pass, saying, “If you have a d***, you need to pee in the men’s room…” He kept repeating, “If you have a d***, you need to pee in the men’s room…” as he continued to reposition himself to prevent her from walking away.

Then, when he raised his hands towards her face, she grabbed his wrists and prevented him from striking her until bystanders pulled the man away from her. She then did what anyone should do when they are attacked by someone in a public place – she informed the bar’s manager and asked them to call the police…

After interviewing the man’s friends and family but no other witnesses, and before they bothered to review the video footage from inside the bar (which they later said was unavailable), the police decided that they would charge our client with assault as well as the man who attacked her, because there was a mark on his face from where she struggled with him, holding his wrists and preventing him from striking her…

After investigating the incident and preparing her case for trial, the prosecutor chose to dismiss – not just her assault charge but also the charge against the man who blocked her path and assaulted her in the bathroom doorway.

Case dismissed, everyone is happy, everyone go home… good news, right?

Except a transgender woman was assaulted for “using the wrong bathroom.” Then, charged with a crime for defending herself against her attacker. And the attacker suffered no consequences for the assault.

Does SC Have a Bathroom Bill?

SC does not have a “bathroom bill.”

Apparently, we need a “bathroom bill” to force ignorant people to not attack transgender people for using the bathroom.

Instead, we have state legislators introducing bills that would prohibit any local governments from passing ordinances that would protect a transgender person’s right to use the bathroom.

Your Ignorance and Hate is Causing Violence

I hope I’m not speaking to most of our readers here, but, if the shoe fits… well, here, try it on.

If you are someone who is incensed about the prospect of a transgender person using “the wrong bathroom,” and you are voicing your ignorant opinion on social media and to anyone who will listen, you are causing violence.

Maybe you think that violence is the answer to people “using the wrong bathroom.” That’s why we need rational legislation in the form of a bathroom bill… to protect people from you.

If you are a legislator railing about the evils of people who don’t fit your notions of right and proper gender identity as you introduce legislation that would perpetuate discrimination against people who are not like you, shame on you. You are stoking the prejudices of the masses and, whether you commit the assault yourself or not, you are inflicting pain and suffering on innocent people.

Are you a horrible person because your religious beliefs or thinly veiled homophobia causes you to think transgender people are bad?

Yes, if you are expressing those beliefs in a way that stokes violence against transgender people. You don’t see the pain that you are causing, the sleepless nights, the fear of physical violence, and the emotional trauma suffered by beautiful human beings who are violently rejected for who they are.

You can, at a minimum, tolerate people who don’t look like you. You can tolerate people who don’t think like you. You can tolerate people that you believe are going to Hell because they don’t worship like you.

You don’t have to accept transgender people. You just need to leave them the hell alone.

Can I Defend Myself?

If you are attacked in any place where you have a legal right to be, you have the right to stand your ground and defend yourself. You do not have to retreat. That includes your home, your car, your front yard, a sidewalk, a parking lot, a grocery store, or the doorway to a bathroom.

This applies equally to transgender people and self-righteous drunk people in bars.

If someone blocks your path and refuses to let you pass, walk around them. If they continue to refuse, attempt to defuse the situation any way that you can, but know that you are right, and they are wrong. If someone restrains you without legal justification, that is kidnapping which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison…

If someone attacks you, you do not have to retreat. Defend yourself.

If you are attacked and you defend yourself, will everything be okay? Will the police understand, and will bystanders give an unbiased account of what happened?

I can’t say everything will be okay.

You may encounter a police officer who doesn’t know harassment when they see it or a prosecutor who doesn’t see a point in prosecuting someone who attacked a transgender person in a bathroom doorway. You may draw a judge who does not see you as a human being or twelve jurors who are thinking to themselves, “I would have attacked them too.”

Regardless, if you are attacked, defend yourself. Be a Zen master, don’t lose your temper, and do not escalate the situation. But, defend yourself. And know that, although it may be the luck of the draw, there are police, prosecutors, judges, jurors, and defense lawyers who care and who will fight for you.

Criminal Defense Law Firm in Columbia, Lexington, and Myrtle Beach, SC

Lacey Thompson only accepts criminal defense cases in the Myrtle Beach, Lexington, and Columbia SC areas.

If you have been charged with a crime or think that you are under investigation, call the Thompson Defense Firm now at 843-444-6122 or fill out our email form to set up a free consultation.

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