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Two arrested in hate crime, robbery of transgender women in Hollywood

A view of Hollywood Boulevard in 2008.
(Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times)

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with an attack on a group of transgender women in Hollywood earlier this week that police are now calling a hate crime.

Carlton Callway, 29, was arrested in Bakersfield on Thursday afternoon on suspicion of robbery in connection with the attack early Monday that left one woman injured, according to LAPD Capt. Steve Lurie, the commanding officer in Hollywood Division.

Willie Walker, a 42-year-old homeless man, was also arrested Wednesday after he allegedly tried to “extort the victims for the return of their property,” according to an LAPD crime bulletin.

A third suspect, 22-year-old Davion Williams, is wanted on suspicion of assault but remains at large, Lurie said.

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“There’s no place for hate like this anywhere, especially in Hollywood,” Lurie said.

Video widely shared on social media earlier this week showed a man, who police now believe to be Callway threatening Eden the Doll, Jaslene Whiterose and Joslyn Flawless about 2 a.m. Monday in the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard. All three women are influencers with large social media followings.

In the video, Callway threatens Flawless with a crowbar as he robs her and then hits Whiterose over the head with something as bystanders laugh and taunt the women.

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

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“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,” Flawless wrote on Instagram. The attack stirred outrage in Los Angeles’ LGBTQ community.

Lurie said one of the women suffered non-life threatening injuries and was treated and released at the scene.

Police also allege Williams threw an electric scooter at the women. He is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon. In 2018, Williams was one of seven people arrested and charged with attacking police officers during a street racing incident in South L.A.

It remains unclear if the suspects knew one another, or if they knew the victims. Lurie said police were able to identify the men through a combination of tips stemming from the footage of the attack and a review of the suspects’ social media pages.

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Walker, the homeless man, was known to outreach officers, Lurie said. Court records show he has been arrested for battery in Los Angeles County several times since 2010.

During a Police Commission meeting earlier this week, some members of the public questioned why an LAPD cruiser could be seen driving through the background of the video without stopping. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said the officer in that cruiser was en route to another emergency call but promised to investigate the matter further.

On Thursday, Lurie said a personnel investigation had been opened into the matter but repeated Moore’s explanation that the police SUV seen in the video had already been dispatched to an unrelated emergency.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, whose district includes Hollywood, expressed frustration Wednesday with those who filmed the attack and seemed to egg it on without intervening.

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“That is not behavior that is becoming of the City of Angels,” he said.

Black Future Project, an activist organization that sprang up during protests against police violence earlier this summer, had already scheduled a demonstration in support of Black women who identify as transgender in the wake of the attack. The demonstration is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street.

“Black Trans Women are some of the most vulnerable members of our community. They are repeatedly on the front lines, fighting against systematic patriarchal and racial violence for everyone when so few people are willing to fight for them,” the group said in an e-mail. “We are gathering to uplift voices that are so often silenced and let Hollywood know that ‘Black Lives Matter’ includes Black trans women.”

Times staff writer Kevin Rector contributed to this report.


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