As the victim of a transphobic attack fended off her assailant, a police officer allegedly lobbed racist and anti-LGBT+ slurs at her instead of helping.
Luis Cruz was strolling through Manhattan, New York, on 11 April, 2020 when a man began harassing her, according to court papers.
She called the cops. But when the officer arrived to Tompkins Square Park in the Alphabet City neighbourhood, instead of coming to her aid, she instead discriminated against her, the lawsuit claimed.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) officer allegedly shoved Cruz and neglected to arrest her actual attacker, the Manhattan Supreme Court heard, according to the New York Post.
Even as Cruz’s reported attacker pelted her with a chain and spat on her, the suit detailed, the defendant “falsely detained” Cruz instead.
The officer – identified in court documents by her surname “Moore” – allegedly shouted “get away from me, faggot” and launched a volley of hateful slurs at the victim.
Moore “refused to arrest the male who struck, spits and insulted plaintiff due to plaintiff’s race and sexual orientation in being a transgender female”, the lawsuit claimed.
Cruz’s attacker was only arrested after she dialled 911 a second time and a police sergeant responded instead. They ordered Moore to arrest the assailant.
After the arrest, Cruz filed a “formal complaint” against Moore to the sergeant.
NYPD has a history of transphobia
New York City’s trans community and the police have a historically fraught relationship.
In 2018, Linda Dominguez, a 45-year-old cosmetologist, cut through a park to get to her apartment when she was stopped by authorities.
Hygiene in the American Wild West was probably about what you’d expect – unhygienic.
Despite being part of a group, Dominguez – a trans woman – was the only one arrested. She was later cuffed to a pipe in a cell with pink handcuffs and repeatedly deadnamed.
She later filed a lawsuit against the police department accusing officers of causing her “mental anguish, ongoing humiliation and embarrassment”.
As part of a settlement agreed in 2020, the department was ordered to retrain its staff in protecting trans civilians as well as pay Dominguez $30,000.