Transgender woman attacked at Minneapolis rail station

A Metro train makes its way downtown during chilling temperatures Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr) (Abbie Parr, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

A transgender woman was brutally assaulted near a light rail station in Minneapolis, suffering serious injuries including a rib fracture, collapsed lung and brain bleed.

Metro Transit police officers responded Monday morning to a call that a woman with “visible brain matter” was lying on the ground near Lake St. Station.

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Officers were concerned the assailants were motivated by “anti-transgender bias,” according to the criminal complaints. However, Nicholas Kimball, a spokesperson for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, told The Associated Press the case is still being investigated and the office needs more evidence to determine a motive.

At least 32 transgender and gender-nonconforming people were killed in the United States last year, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Trans women are disproportionately represented, comprising 81% of the deaths. In 2021, the human rights organization tallied 57 fatal assaults against trans and gender-nonconforming people, the highest number since HRC has been reporting the numbers.

Police have surveillance images showing three people pushing a woman down the stairs at the Minneapolis station and assaulting her while she was on the ground. Two of the attackers boarded a train and exited four stops later, according to police. The men, Kevin York Jr., 23, and Keaten Morris, 19, were found with a woman's clutch containing the victim's possessions, along with other bags.

They were arrested and charged with first-degree aggravated robbery and third-degree assault, both felonies. A third person seen in surveillance was not identified in the complaints and it was not immediately clear if they were in custody.

York and Morris each face up to 35 years in prison and $45,000 in fines. Penalties could increase if investigators find evidence proving bias motivated the assault, Kimball said.

The AP left a telephone message after business hours Wednesday seeking comment from the public defender who court records show was appointed to represent Morris and York.

___ Trisha Ahmed is a corps member for the Associated Press/ Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter: @TrishaAhmed15

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