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D.A. sends hate crime case in Hollywood attack of transgender women back to LAPD

Hollywood Boulevard is lighted up earlier this year.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

The man accused of robbing three transgender women in Hollywood earlier this month in what police have called a hate crime was released from jail Tuesday after prosecutors asked detectives to dig deeper into the case before they filed charges, authorities said.

Carlton Callway, 29, was arrested last week in Bakersfield on suspicion of the Aug. 17 robbery that was filmed in a video on Hollywood Boulevard, but he was released from jail Tuesday after the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office delayed filing charges in the case, pending further investigation by Los Angeles police. Jail records show he was released Tuesday afternoon.

Video widely shared on social media showed a man threatening popular influencers Eden the Doll, Jaslene Whiterose and Joslyn Flawless about 2 a.m. Aug. 17 in the 6500 block of Hollywood Boulevard. In the video, someone threatens Flawless with a crowbar as he robs her and then strikes Whiterose in the head as bystanders taunt the women.

Investigators have said the attacker also made demeaning remarks about the women’s gender identity, which led police to consider the incident a hate crime.

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Hate crimes declined slightly in 2018, the FBI says in a new report. But crimes targeting people — as opposed to property — surged dramatically, as did crimes against Latinos and transgender people.

News of the decision sparked a furor online after Eden recorded a phone call with an LAPD detective and published it to Instagram on Monday. In the call, the detective criticizes the district attorney’s office and describes the case as “temporarily rejected.”

“Even with the video footage, all the signatures, everything that’s happened the last week … that’s not enough evidence?” she asked. “This just does not make sense to me.”

“Everything you just said, I do believe, is enough to file criminal charges against them,” the detective responded.

Prosecutors normally have to file charges within two business days of an arrest. The district attorney’s office often sends cases back for further investigation if there is not enough evidence to file a case in that time, though prosecutors do not normally consider that the same as a rejected filing, which would trigger the creation of a document explaining the reasoning behind a decision to decline charges.

The case has since been reassigned to the LAPD’s elite Robbery-Homicide Division, which normally handles high-profile cases, according to a law enforcement source who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity. It initially had been investigated by the Hollywood Division.

It was not immediately clear whether Callway had an attorney, and The Times was unable to contact him for comment.

The status of another man arrested in connection with the attack by LAPD last week — 42-year-old Willie Walker — was not clear. He was arrested on suspicion of trying to extort the victims Aug. 19, and released on his own recognizance, according to jail records.

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A third suspect, Davion Williams, 22, was wanted on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon after police allege he threw an electric scooter at the women, authorities said. He remains at large.


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