Washington police say a transgender woman who claimed to be the victim of a hate crime was actually the instigator.
A video released last week by the King County Sheriff’s Office shows the unnamed transgender woman pepper spraying four teens on a city bus in what authorities said was an unprovoked attack, CBS affiliate KIROreported.
The alleged victim had previously claimed she’d been taunted by the teens at a bus station on Dec. 10.
She told authorities she’d only used pepper spray in order to defend herself.
A 14-year-old and two 16-year-old suspects were arrested for investigation of malicious harassment (a hate crime), and felony assault on the day of the alleged attack, according to KIRO.
But after detectives later reviewed surveillance and cellphone footage of the incident, they determined the transgender woman was the aggressor.
Police said they could find no evidence or witnesses to corroborate the alleged victim’s claim that the teens had harassed her before she’d pepper sprayed them.
The teens attacked the alleged victim after they all got off the bus.
Cellphone video of that assault shows them stomping on her head and kicking her.
But authorities say the attack wasn’t a hate crime.
“They didn’t do it because of who she is or her sexuality. They did it just strictly because they were assaulted, and then they got off the bus and assaulted her back,” said Sgt. Ryan Abbott of the King’s County Sheriff’s Office.
The teens are likely facing misdemeanor assault charges.
They will not be able to claim self-defense because of the lapse of time between when they were pepper sprayed on the bus and when the off-the-bus attack occurred.
The transgender woman is likely to be charged with felony assault, according to police.