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Hate crime investigation underway after transgender women robbed, beaten in Hollywood

Hollywood Boulevard
The LAPD is investigating an assault and robbery of three transgender women in Hollywood as a hate crime.
(Josie Norris / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police are calling the robbery and assault of three transgender women on Hollywood Boulevard early Monday a hate crime and have launched an investigation into the attack.

They also are reviewing the response of officers in the area, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said.

Police said the women were attacked about 2:15 a.m. Monday in the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard, near Wilcox Avenue.

The incident was partially captured on videos that were later reposted to Instagram by the women: social media influencers Eden the Doll, who has 410,000 Instagram followers, and Jaslene Whiterose and Joslyn Flawless, who also have large followings.

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The videos, which have been viewed extensively online, show a man threatening Flawless with a crowbar as he robs her, and shows him hitting Whiterose over the head with an object. The videos also show bystanders taunting the women and laughing.

Police said the man demanded Flawless’ shoes and bracelet as he threatened her with the crowbar, and struck Whiterose with a bottle — all while making “derogatory remarks” about their gender identity.

On Instagram, Flawless described the encounter as the “scariest moment” of her life.

“He held a crow bar to my face and threatened to kill me unless I stripped my shoes off and gave him my jewelry and all my [possessions]. He said if I was trans he would kill me,” she wrote.

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“He then forced me to hold his hand while he looks for my friends to kill them for being trans,” she wrote. “Meanwhile men and WOMEN screaming that I’m a man and telling him to beat me.”

“I got beat up,” Whiterose wrote on a video she posted recounting the attack.

Eden the Doll wrote that she was also struck and had her phone stolen, and that she was “completely traumatized” by the encounter.

The women could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

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On Tuesday, multiple members of the public who had called in to a virtual meeting of the Los Angeles Police Commission asked about the incident and demanded that LAPD officials release more information. They asked why an LAPD officer had driven by the scene without stopping — which was also captured on video.

Commission Vice President Shane Murphy Goldsmith also asked about the encounter.

Moore told the commission he is “very concerned about any hate crimes,” and said that the incident and the department’s response were both being reviewed.

Moore said an officer did pass the scene in a squad car with its lights activated, en route to an emergency call, but he said few other details were immediately available. Some time passed before an officer stopped where the women were attacked.

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Moore said he planned to find out what call the first officer was responding to, whether the officer realized what was happening to the women as he passed by, whether the officer alerted dispatch to the incident and “whether or not we took appropriate action.”

He said the investigation will include a review of body-worn camera footage to determine whether officers followed procedures.

Goldsmith asked for additional updates from Moore when more is known about the case, and Moore promised to comply.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact detectives at (213) 972-2934 or send anonymous tips to (800) 222-8477.


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