TLDEF Demands Full Investigation Into Queens Bias Attack
We're sad to bring you the news of another brutal attack on a transgender woman, this one coming during the height of LGBT Pride month. On June 19, 2009, at approximately 2:30 am, Leslie Mora was walking home from a nightclub on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens when she was accosted by two men who brutally beat her with a belt. They stopped only when a passing motorist threatened to call the police. Throughout the attack, Leslie’s assailants called her a “faggot” in Spanish. The attack left Leslie with multiple injuries, including bruises all over her body, and stitches in her scalp. Police called to the scene found Leslie nearly naked and bleeding on the sidewalk. They also recovered a belt buckle from the assailants that was covered in blood.
The Queens County District Attorney Must Investigate this Brutal Attack as a Hate Crime
We’ve demanded that the Queens County District Attorney investigate this brutal attack as a hate crime. Leslie was beaten with a belt while her assailants called her a ‘faggot.’ While Leslie is a transgender woman, her attackers perceived her to be gay. State law currently classifies it as a hate crime for an individual to target and attack a victim because of the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation. Leslie’s assault is a hate crime because her attackers perceived her to be gay and targeted her for violence because of that perception. This is as clear a case for prosecution as a hate crime as any we have seen.
Her assailants, Trinidad Tapia, 19, and Gilberto Ortiz, 32, fled the scene but were arrested by police soon after the attack. Both were charged with assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon, a felony, and released on their own recognizance. The Queens County District Attorney has declined to investigate the attack as a hate crime.
New York State Senators Need to Get Back to Work and Pass Pending Transgender-Inclusive Hate Crimes Legislation
Transgender people face tremendous violence in their daily lives. Every month in the United States, a transgender person is murdered. New York State Senators must immediately return to work and pass the transgender hate crimes legislation pending in the Senate. The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (S.2406), which has passed the State Assembly and is awaiting Senate action, would make it a hate crime for an individual to attack another because of the victim’s gender identity or expression. Current state law already protects New Yorkers from hate-motivated violence based upon race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation and other factors. It is unconscionable that transgender New Yorkers are being attacked on the streets where they live while our state’s Senators shirk their responsibility to take action to end the violence.
As always, we'll keep you up-to-date on the status of our efforts to ensure that Leslie’s attackers are brought to justice.
Gilberto Ortiz Case Details - Summary
Gilberto Ortiz Case Details - Appearances
Gilberto Ortiz Case Details - Charges
Trinidad Tapia Case Details - Summary
Trinidad Tapia Case Details - Appearances
Trinidad Tapia Case Details - Charges
Leslie Mora Photo 1 (photo by Laura Vogel)
Leslie Mora Photo 2 (photo by Laura Vogel)
Leslie Mora Photo 3 (photo by Laura Vogel)
Queens Pride House Press Release 6/30/09
Sen. Thomas K. Duane's Statement 7/1/09
Sen. Thomas K. Duane's Letter to Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly 7/2/09
NYS Assembly LGB Caucus Letter to Queens D.A. 7/2/09
NYS Assembly LGB Caucus Letter to NYPD 7/2/09