Investigators say an investigation into an assault outside a Charleston nightclub revealed a man confronted a transgender woman about her gender identity before attacking her.
Initially, police said the victim was not assaulted because she was a transgender woman. However, on Tuesday, police said the ongoing investigation gathered new information about the assault that happened outside of Deco Nightclub at 28 Ann Street on Aug. 19 at 2 a.m.
According to police, there was a physical altercation between three individuals who were leaving the nightclub and an individual who was outside on the patio.
One of the victims was a transgender woman, Charleston police said.
"The police report about the incident didn’t specify that the assault occurred as a result of her gender identity," Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said. "The follow-up investigation revealed the offender did confront the victim about the victim’s gender identity prior to the assault."
Police say investigators are working closely with the Alliance For Full Acceptance to ensure all witnesses are interviewed and all violations of the law are considered.
"We were understandably appalled, frightened for the survivor, wanting to make sure that she was okay," executive director of Alliance For Full Acceptance Chase Glenn said. "This isn't the first time something like this has happened here."
Glenn said he's been encouraged by the amount of support he's seen people giving the woman who was assaulted.
"You look on the post and it's been shared hundreds of times, hundreds of comments," Glenn said. "People have been really moved by this incident."
And Glenn is hoping the resolution of this incident helps shed light on what he calls a nation-wide problem of violence against transgender people.
"We want greater understanding throughout the community about transgender people," Glenn said. "And so our hope is that this will help further that cause."
Anyone with information is asked to call 843-743-7200 for the on-duty Charleston Police central detective.
The investigation into the incident began when a police officer was flagged down for an injured person.
When the officer got to the scene he saw the victim lying on the ground face first with blood coming from her head, and she was not responding.
A police report states the victim's sister and another witness were by the victim's side and told officers that a man got into a physical altercation with her as she was leaving the elevator to the parking garage following a verbal disturbance.
The sister said she was kicked by the suspect in the stomach, and at that time the victim went to defend her.
A report states the suspect then punched the victim on the head, knocking the victim unconscious. Police say the suspect then took off through the parking garage towards Mary Street.
Another witness told the police officer that she saw a man punch the victim following an altercation, then fled.
The victim was transported to MUSC.
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