UPDATE: Man who filmed attack says it was not motivated by transphobia.
Mystery surrounds the attack on an apparently transgender woman in Little 5 Points, which was recorded and posted to Vine in a video that went viral Wednesday evening. None of the employees who work in any of the surrounding businesses claim to have witnessed the incident. None of the witnesses or the victim filed a police report either, and the Atlanta Police Department continues to look into it.
“This is the most gossipy place you’ve seen and it seems astounding that not one of us have heard anything about it,” says Susanne Gibboney, general manager at Junkman’s Daughter.
Gibboney has seen the video of the incident and said that while she doesn’t recognize either the assailant or the victim, “the guy that runs the neighborhood association said that he had kicked the girl out because she had been sleeping on the ground in places.
“I just watch a parade of hobos all day long that are regulars, half of them I know by name, and I’ve been here 26 years,” Gibboney says. “Perhaps she’s new to the scene.”
The Junkman’s GM also says there have been parking attendants right in front of where the incident occurred who were hired for the duration of the U.S. soccer team’s appearance in the World Cup. The team lost late Tuesday afternoon, so if the incident occurred that day (the same day the Vine was posted), the attendants would have been there. The GA Voice has reached out to the Little 5 Points Business Association, who hired the parking attendants, to find out more information about who was working the lot that day.
Surrounding businesses, including Stratosphere Skateboards and Aurora Coffee, have not responded to messages left, with the exception of Charis Books.
“We’re working out to all of our contacts in the Little 5 Points area and other business owners to find out what we can do as a longtime community institution,” says Elizabeth Anderson, executive director of Charis Circle. “But until we know anything, there’s nothing to do.”
Here’s a statement Charis posted on their Facebook page earlier today:
Dear Charis Community, as you may have heard, there was violent altercation in L5P on Tuesday evening which was filmed and uploaded to the internet and which may or may not have been motivated by transphobia and/or transmisogyny. We do not know the person who was attacked, nor do we know the attackers or the person who made the video. We have heard from many folks who are rightfully concerned about the attack and we have been working within our L5P networks to learn more about the circumstances of the attack and its filming. We are seeking facts at this moment and as soon as we know more we will share more through the appropriate channels. Any form of violence represents a tear in our community fabric and we ask that you be conscientious in the sharing of the video as it is a kind of violence in and of itself.
Anderson said she has spoken with the Atlanta-based and trans-led Solutions Not Punishment Coalition (SNaP), who are having a private strategy meeting today about the incident. SNaP was a leader in coordinating the response to the recent attack on two trans women on MARTA. They also have a previously scheduled public meeting on July 8 at the Phillip Rush Center, where we can assume this incident will be the first on the agenda.
The Atlanta Police Department is apparently stumped as well at this point since no witnesses reported the incident, but they are investigating.
“It appears no one called 911,” says Officer Brian Sharp, LGBT liaison with the APD. “We are attempting to locate the victim/witnesses.”
The GA Voice has also attempted to reach the beat cop who we are told works the Little 5 Points beat and is said to know all of the homeless and street kids in the area.
There have also been several people on Twitter claiming they were there during the incident, but when contacted by the GA Voice to confirm, they have either not responded or recanted what they said.
If you have any information about the incident, please email or tweet me. The GA Voice is working several other sources and will post something as soon as we have an update.