Second arrest made in MARTA beating of trans women

MARTA officials announced late Friday its police department had arrested and charged a second person in the attack of two trans women on May 20.

Luther L. Thomas
Luther L. Thomas

Luther L. Thomas was arrested Thursday. Frederick L. Missick, 35, was arrested today. Both are Atlanta residents and both have been charged with disorderly conduct and being held on $2,500 bond.

A more serious charge can’t be filed against Thomas or Missick because MARTA police are not getting help from the victims, said MARTA spokesperson Lyle Harris.

“The simple answer is we don’t have cooperating victims to file more serious assault charges and this is the best we can do, at least right now,” he told GA Voice.

The two suspects are being held at the Fulton County Jail and have been suspended from MARTA for violating its “Ride with Respect” code of policy, Harris said.

“MARTA does not condone and will not tolerate this type of behavior,“ said Keith T. Parker, MARTA’s GM and CEO in a prepared statement. “I can assure you that we’re taking this matter very seriously.”

Harris said MARTA’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity also plans to begin meeting with LGBT groups next week “to affirm the agency’s staunch support for the principles of tolerance, inclusion and equal treatment under the law.”

The May 20 incident occurred about 11 p.m. on a southbound train headed to the Oakland City Station. The attack was recorded by several people on the train on their cellphones and someone uploaded their video to a website where it went viral on the internet.

Frederick Missick
Frederick Missick

Janell Crosby, one of the victims, told GA Voice she and her friends were being harassed while waiting for the train and then the situation escalated into a violent attack and fight on the train.

From a MARTA press release sent out late Friday:

MARTA has pursued this case aggressively but the investigation has been hampered by a lack of witnesses willing to come forward. Police officers who later responded to the scene were unable to get statements from the victims and subsequent attempts to interview them were also unsuccessful.

MARTA is a safe and secure transit system and assaults of any type are rare. As part of its core mission, MARTA is committed to providing quality transit service to all customers regardless of race, creed, religion, age, disability, ethnicity or sexual preference.

Crosby told the GA Voice she tried to report the attack to a MARTA officer the night of the attack. MARTA officials deny ignoring anyone seeking to make a report.

Crosby and Tyra Woods, who stripped naked during the attack, have left Atlanta in the days after the incident.

In the video, it is clear words are being exchanged and Crosby repeatedly tells Thomas to “Stop it.” Thomas then apparently becomes angered with something Crosby says to him and he begins kicking and punching her. Tyra Woods jumps in to try to help and that’s when Missick punches Woods in the face. The women fight back against their attackers for a little over two minutes before the beating stops. Nobody on the train tried to stop the fight or intervene in any way.