Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Brooklyn Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Hate Crime
Against Transgendered Woman in Bushwick

Defendant Shouted Anti-Gay Slurs Before Assaulting Victim, Who Suffered Brain Injury

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson today announced that a 26-year-old man was sentenced to 20 years in prison following his conviction last month on charges 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, “Hate led to the defendant’s conviction. Justice led to his sentence.”

The District Attorney identified the defendant as Mashawn Sonds, 26, of 36 Hegeman Avenue in Brownsville, Brooklyn. He was sentenced today to 20 years in prison by Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun following his conviction on charges of first-degree assault as a hate crime. The defendant was convicted on December 18, 2015, following a jury trial. This was the first trial conviction secured by the DA’s Hate Crimes Unit, which was created last year and is 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 f—-s on our block,” among other anti-gay epithets.

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 was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Marc Fliedner, Chief of the District Attorney’s Civil Rights Bureau and Assistant District Attorney Carlos Santiago, also of the Civil Rights Bureau, and under the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.