A Dallas man has been arrested in connection with the brutal beating of a transgender woman outside an apartment complex.
On April 12, the victim, who has been identified by WFAA as Muhlaysia Booker, told police she was assaulted after getting involved in a minor traffic accident.
In a video recorded by a bystander, Booker is surrounded by a mob of people who looked on while a man punches and kicks her. Booker also told police the crowd yelled homophobic slurs during the attack.
Eventually, the others joined in the attack, which ended with Booker getting kicked and dragged across the apartment complex parking lot. The video ends with three other women helping Booker get up.
Booker was then transported to a Dallas-area hospital, where police interviewed her about the assault. Although the attack occurred during the day, police did not meet with Booker until 11:23 p.m., police said.
On Friday, video of the attack went viral. Police have since arrested 29-year-old Edward Thomas on a charge of aggravated assault.
Dallas Police said they are still "reviewing all available evidence to determine if [the charge] will be classified as a hate crime."
Police also said more arrests may occur.
On Saturday, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a statement on Twitter condemning the attack.
"Chief Hall alerted me this morning to the assault at the Royal Crest Apartments and I have seen a video of what happened. I am extremely angry about what appears to be mob violence against this woman," Rawlings wrote. "I am in contact with the chief and she assured me that the Dallas Police Department is fully investigating, including the possibility that this was a hate crime. Those who did this do not represent how Dallasites feel about our thriving LGBTQ community. We will not stand for this kind of behavior."
Leslie McMurray, the transgender education and advocacy coordinator at the Resource Center in Dallas, called the attack sickening.
"It's utterly terrifying," McMurray, who is also transgender, told WFAA. "You could just feel the energy and the malevolence of this crowd escalate as the violence ensued and there was no voice standing up saying stop.
"There's no reason that our lives are less valuable than someone else or that we should be someone's punching bag just because we're transgender."
Many people who saw the viral video on social media demanded that Thomas be charged with a hate crime.
The Dallas Police Department Assault Unit is urging anyone with information about the attack to call 214-671-3584.
(Photo: NBC 5 Dallas)
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