FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 18, 2015
Brooklyn Man Convicted of Assault as a Hate Crime For Vicious Attack on Transgendered Woman in Bushwick
Victim Suffered Traumatic Brain Injury, Underwent Surgery on Her Skull
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 26-year-old man was convicted of first-degree assault as a hate crime for striking a 29-year-old transgendered woman in the head with a two by four piece of plexiglass, causing severe injuries.
District Attorney Thompson said, “This defendant viciously attacked an innocent woman purely out of hate and left her on the ground for dead. This was a cowardly, unprovoked and brutal attack on a person who was targeted merely because of her appearance. Hate crimes are an attack against all of us no matter who we are, and hopefully today’s conviction makes clear to anyone who commits bias-motivated violence in Brooklyn that they will pay a steep price.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Mashawn Sonds, 26, of 36 Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was convicted today of first-degree assault as a hate crime, following a jury trial before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. He will be sentenced on January 13, 2016, at which time he faces up to 25 years in prison. This was the first trial conviction secured by the newly-created Hate Crime Unit, which is a part of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau.
The District Attorney said that, according to trial testimony, on October 12, 2014, at approximately 11:20 p.m., on Bushwick Avenue, near Halsey Street, a 29-year-old transgendered woman was walking with a gay male friend when she was approached by the defendant and others, with one of them yelling, “We don’t want faggots on our block,” among other anti-gay slurs.
The District Attorney said that, according to the investigation, Sonds then picked up a piece of plexiglass and swung it at the victim, Kimball Hartman. As she tried to get away he threw the plexiglass and struck her in the head. The victim was knocked unconscious, began seizing and suffered profuse bleeding from the back of her head. She sustained a traumatic brain injury, underwent surgery to her skull, and will likely suffer permanent injuries.
The case was investigated by New York City Police Department Detective Michael Diaz of the Hate Crimes Task Force, under the supervision of Deputy Inspector Mark Magrone, Chief of the Task Force. NYPD Detective James Menton, of the Bronx Special Victims Squad, assisted in the apprehension of the defendant.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Carlos Santiago, of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.