JACKSON HEIGHTS — The NYPD's decision that the beating of a transgender woman this week was not a hate crime was criticized by activitists who said they were concerned police hadn't sufficiently interviewed the victim before dismissing the potential charges.
Advocate Jennifer Louise Lopez, the executive director of Everything Transgender in NYC, said she visited the victim, who goes by the name Kathy, in the hospital on Tuesday, just as the critically injured woman was beginning to talk again.
Investigators hadn't yet spoken with Kathy, she said.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Wednesday that investigators planned to "speak to [the victim] this evening and to find what’s going forward from there."
He added that while police initially "thought it might be a hate crime," they "were able to find a witness who saw the whole thing from their window and heard the exchange as well. We now believe that they’re known to each other. It was not a random attack... We do not believe it’s a hate crime.”
In an email Friday, an NYPD spokesman said "of course" police interviewed the suspect before concluding its hate crime investigation, but did not immediately provide a timeline of when they spoke to the victim.
Lopez said the handling of the case is concerning.
"The NYPD does not want to do their jobs correctly," she said. "This needs to stop, NYPD needs to wake up and do their jobs. It's time for us to demand respect from everybody."
Lopez was among advocates who joined a rally Thursday night in support of the transgender woman, organized by Make the Road New York. The group marched from Make the Road New York's headquarters on Roosevelt Avenue to the corner of 37th Place and 93rd Street, half a block from where Sunday's beating took place.
Make the Road was joined by elected officials including Public Advocate Tish James, State Senator Jose Peralta, Assembyman Francisco Moya and Assemblyman Michael DenDekker, who all vowed support for the LGBT community in Jackson Heights, one of the city's largest.
The focus was on ending any violence against transwomen — whether it's classified as a hate crime or a domestic attack.
The rally, held half a block from where a transgender woman was beaten on Nov. 29, denounced violence in the trans community, regardless of what motivated it. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)
Tanya Walker, 52, traveled from Harlem to Jackson Heights to join the rally and said she didn't agree with the NYPD's decision.
"I believe it was a hate crime," she said.
"This woman was beaten down in front of her home...it's the same over and over again."
Many of the women in attendance were frustrated with how often they've been to rallies for those in their community.
Shagaysia Diamond, who moved from Michigan to the Bronx, chanted over those speaking at the beginning of the rally. When she was asked to quiet down, she briefly left the rally.
"I'm trying to raise my voice to raise awareness, if I'm not raising awareness I'm not doing nothing," she said.
"I'm not coming up here to be on TV ... I'm coming here to make sure that life matters."