The MARTA Police Department has arrested a pair of suspects allegedly involved in a fight on a train last week that was captured by witnesses on video and then went viral on the internet. The two victims in the case have told local media the fight was result of them being transgender.
Luther L. Thomas, 34, and Frederick L. Missick, 35, both of Atlanta, have been charged with disorderly conduct in connection with the May 20 incident that occurred on a southbound train en route to Oakland City Station.
More serious charges against the suspects are possible according to authorities. Both are being held at the Fulton County jail on $2,500 bond.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has condemned the attack as a hate crime.
The video of the profanity-laced brawl that concludes in nudity begins with a verbal confrontation between two transgender women and a pair of men. It then escalated into an almost two-minute long brawl between the four as other passengers watched and videoed.
“Nobody tried to help,” one of the transgender women attacked in the video, told GA Voice. “They were all standing up on chairs and videotaping. That’s how it ended up on so many sites.”
MARTA officials said the investigation has been hampered by a lack of witnesses willing to come forward. Police officers who later responded to the scene were unable to get statements from the victims and subsequent attempts to interview them were also unsuccessful.
In the wake of this incident, MARTA’s Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity is strengthening outreach efforts to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community to affirm the agency’s staunch support for the principles of tolerance, inclusion and equal treatment under the law.