By LYNAIRE MUNNINGS
Tribune Staff Reporter
A LAWYER claimed an American transgender woman was beaten “black and blue” during a “hate crime” at a club on West Bay Street on Saturday.
Attorney Mark Rolle Symonette said the woman, China Diamond, 26, intends to file a civil suit against the club after her birthday vacation took a turn for the worse.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Leamond Deleveaux said yesterday he was unaware of the incident, but would look into it.
“We will not support any violence against anyone,” he told The Tribune. “Every human being has the right to coexist and to live, and the constitution is very clear on that. We do not support people being attacked. We cannot. The police are very strongly against that.”
During a press conference, Mr Symonette claimed the club owner found Ms Diamond attractive, offered to buy her a drink and told her she would make a good bartender.
He said, according to his client, an employee told the owner Ms Diamond was “a man”, prompting the owner to demand she leave the place.
He claimed after the woman questioned why she should leave, a security guard snatched her from the chair and manhandled her while trying to remove her from the club.
A bottle of perfume she had in her bag reportedly fell out of her bag and broke in half. Mr Symonette said she picked up the bottle and threw it at the security guard, causing a scratch to his face.
He said “five or six men” then viciously beat the woman, punching, stomping and kicking her about her body.
Mr Symonette said the Memphis, Tennessee, resident was arrested for causing harm and appeared before Magistrate Shaka Serville on Monday.
“That is the first time I’ve ever seen someone before the court literally beaten black and blue,” he said, adding the woman had purple wounds under her eyes. He said people in the court were shocked by her appearance.
He said her wig had been snatched off during the beating, which she showed the court.
“All because of what she described to the court as a hate crime, and I believe that it is a hate crime,” he added.
He said his client is traumatised, describing the incident as a black eye for the country’s tourism industry, which has been celebrating record arrival numbers.
“This, ladies and gentlemen, is a human being,” he said. “Transexual or transgender, she is still a human being. She is entitled to her rights under the constitution, all of which were violated. She was cast into a cell and actually spent her birthday in the cell –– over a day and a half in the cell.”
“As a transgender person, whether we agree with the concept or the lifestyle of transgender is not the issue. This is a question of human rights, which were violated.”
Mr Symonette said the magistrate was sympathetic to the woman and merely warned her before discharging the matter.
He said the magistrate noted the men involved in the altercation were not present in court.
“We’re asking the commissioner of police to please investigate this incident fully so that those responsible for beating Ms Diamond can be brought before the courts just as she was brought before the court,” he said.
He called on the Bahamas Christian Council to condemn the attack.
“Shall The Bahamas be known as a nation that tolerates hate crimes against our visitors simply because we disagree with their lifestyle?” he asked. “Surely it cannot be that.”
A review of the woman’s public social media accounts suggested she had not posted about the alleged incident. The most recent posts, including one of her at Baha Mar, posted yesterday, feature glamourous shots of her.