LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A man was charged Friday with hurling homophobic and transphobic slurs at a group of Latinx transgender women and gay men in a downtown Los Angeles bar last summer.
Eduardo Gonzalez was charged with one misdemeanor counts of making a criminal threat and one count of making a criminal threat that constituted a hate crime, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer reported.
The incident occurred on the night of Aug. 23, 2019, at Las Perlas, located at 107 E. 6th St.
Three transgender women and a gay man who were with a group of staff and volunteers for local nonprofit Bienestar Human Services claimed they were verbally and physically assaulted before being forcibly removed from the bar.
At a news conference about a month following the attack, the victims said they were at the bar to celebrate DTLA Proud — an annual two-day festival held in Pershing Square that celebrates the LGBTQ community — when they were approached by a straight couple who used hurtful transphobic slurs against them.
Accurding to Feuer, prosecutors determined that Gonzalez and his girlfriend sat at the table with the group and “made multiple transphobic and misgendering slurs towards the transgender women, leading to an argument with the group.”
At one point, Feuer says, Gonzalez allegedly threatened to retrieve a gun.
Cell phone video which went viral captured the tail end of the incident. The friends said that when they asked security for help, the guards escorted out the couple who had attacked them. However, instead of calling police, the transgender group was then dragged out as well.
“I asked management numerous times to call 911, but they failed to do so,” LGBTQ advocate Jorge Rios told reporters back in September of 2019. “I asked them numerous times not to remove us from their establishment, but they failed to listen.”
Gonzalez is scheduled to be arraigned in the case Aug. 7. Its unclear what kind of sentence he would face if convicted as charged.
“Acts of hate against transgender people have no place in our society,” Feuer said in a statement. “Transgender people, especially transgender people of color, already face an unconscionable risk of violence. Perpetrators need to be held accountable.”