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Deonton Rogers was arraigned in 3rd Circuit Court in Detroit on August 15. The 29-year-old was accused of pulling a gun on a trans woman in a gas station on the city’s west side and shooting her while in a scuffle, Rogers is charged with discharging a firearm causing serious injury, felonious assault, being a felon in possession of a firearm, fourth-degree child abuse and ethnic intimidation based on gender and a felony firearms violation.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy issued the charge after consulting with the Fair Michigan Justice Program.
FMJP is a program that assists Michigan law enforcement officers and prosecutors in solving serious crimes against LGBT persons. This is the first gender bias hate crime in Michigan involving a transgender woman who was assaulted. Lesbian and gay persons have no hate crime protections in the state of Michigan.
“The Ethnic Intimidation Act – Michigan’s hate-crime law – penalizes hate crimes committed because of a victim’s sex,” said Fair Michigan President Dana Nessel. “Judge [William] McMonico decided that a hate crime against a transgender person because she is transgender falls within the scope of the law. Fair Michigan instituted the Justice Project to provide the LGBT community with this kind of strong advocacy in the criminal justice system.”
The incident dates back to July 23, when Rogers allegedly approached a trans woman in a Mobil gas station at the corner of Seven Mile and Greenfield Roads. After she identified herself as being transgender, it is said that Rogers pulled a gun on her and that in attempt to wrestle the gun from him, the trans women, whose identity has not been released to the public, was shot. The injury, while not life-threatening, did require surgery to treat.
“We just paid for her prescriptions last week,” said Jey’nce Poindexter Mizrahi, transgender victim’s advocate for Equality Michigan. “She’s stable and recovering. She had surgery the other day.”
One local trans activist is very happy with Judge McMonico’s ruling.
“I think what Fair Michigan is doing is a good thing,” said Michelle Fox-Phillips, executive director of the Gender-Identity Network Alliance. “Considering that here in state of Michigan gender identity and sexual orientation are not covered under hate crimes … to use ethnic intimidation. Hey, whatever works.”