DALLAS (AP) - Police canvassed a Dallas neighborhood during the weekend in search of anyone who may have witnessed the brutal beating of a transgender woman in an attack that happened in broad daylight in front of a crowd of people and that was caught on cellphone video.
Detectives were seeking clues in hopes of identifying the woman's assailant or assailants, police said in a statement. On Sunday night, they announced the arrest of 29-year-old Edward Thomas, who reportedly had a role in the attack.
Police said the woman, who has not been identified, reported the assault while receiving hospital treatment Friday night. She told officers the attack happened earlier Friday after she was involved in a minor traffic accident near an apartment complex in the southern part of Dallas, according to the police statement released Saturday.
A purported video of the attack posted on Facebook shows a man in a white shirt viciously beating the woman, apparently into unconsciousness, while the crowd looks on and homophobic slurs are shouted.
Several women eventually carried the victim's limp body to safety.
Dallas police said the assault has been flagged as a hate crime. A spokesman said the victim's identity and further information about the case would not be released Sunday.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he is "extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman" and that those responsible do not represent how most residents feel about the city's "thriving LGBTQ community."
"I am in contact with (Police Chief U. Renee Hall) and she assured me that the Dallas Police Department is fully investigating, including the possibility that this was a hate crime," Rawlings, who has viewed the video, said in a statement Saturday.
Last November, the FBI reported that 7,175 hate crimes were committed in the United States in 2017, the most recent year for which the agency had compiled data. Of those, 1,130 were based on sexual orientation bias and 119 on gender identity bias. The data showed a 5% increase in hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation bias and a 4% decrease in hate crimes motivated by gender identity bias. Of crimes motivated by gender identity bias, 106 targeted transgender people, a 1% increase from 2016.
Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved. Gray News contributed to this report.