Man convicted in attack on transgender woman

November 19, 2011

A Washington man was convicted last week of assault with intent to rob in a daytime attack on a transgender woman in Northwest Washington, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

The conviction of Russell Brock-Smith, 25, in D.C. Superior Court came one day after a rally was held outside the prosecutor’s office by about three dozen activists demanding more protection for transgender people against what they called increased violence and police bias against them.

Brock-Smith was convicted Friday in an attack that occurred about 5 p.m. Aug. 1 in the 1400 block of Buchanan Street NW, as the victim, who was not identified, was walking after finishing a day of work.

Prosecutors said she was approached by Brock-Smith, who tried to pull her purse from her shoulder. When she refused to surrender it, he grabbed her hair, punched her in the head and tried to pull her into an alley.

He fled when the victim threatened to call police. According to the prosecutor’s office, the victim followed him and took his photo before calling police.

It was not clear what role the photo played in the jury trial. The victim, who suffered head injuries during the attack, testified in the trial, prosecutors said.

Brock-Smith was ordered held without bond pending sentencing on Jan. 20, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

At last week’s rally, a spokesman for the DC Trans Coalition said at least 20 transgender women had been assaulted in the city since July.

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