Los Angeles police are now investigating the popular downtown bar Las Perlas after a video clip of the bar’s staff forcibly throwing out a pair of transgender women went viral this past weekend. Authorities are now trying to determine whether a hate crime was committed.
When a group of LGBTQ bar patrons were approached and assaulted by a pair of strangers, the bar responded not by breaking up the conflict, but by dragging out two victims of the alleged assault.
According to Huffpost, the transgender women were part of a group from “Bienestar Human Services, a nonprofit that provides health care and other services to Latino and LGBTQ populations.”
The group was approached by a man and a woman who began insulting them.
Khloe Rios, who would film the later incident on her phone, remembered them saying:
“They said, ‘You guys are all men. You guys don’t belong here’.”
The group responded by telling the strangers:
“‘Please leave us alone. We don’t want problems’.”
The bar’s security staff approached after the unnamed man slapped and pushed a member of the Bienestar team.
Instead of removing them from the bar, however, Las Perlas staff merely asked the two aggressive strangers to leave. With the group of LGBTQ bar-goers, however, the bouncers took physical action, dragging two transgender women out of the bar while Rios filmed the incident.
Jennifer Bianchi, one of the women dragged out by the Las Perlas staff, spoke about the threatening bargoer to the LA Times:
“He … said they would shoot us all and kill us because we were guys. I couldn’t sleep last night. I feel sad. I feel anger. I feel just like I’m in a nightmare.”
Twitter do your thing. #BoycottLasPerlas after they aggressively harassed and violently and forcibly removed our trans sisters in DTLA from their establishment. Blow up their line. Demand justice! #LasPerlas #Transphobia #DemandJustice pic.twitter.com/BRPbkBOlmy
— Cisco (@itsthatcisco) August 24, 2019
Following the incident, the bar’s owner, Cedd Moses, issued a statement on Facebook defending the actions of his staff.
“The guards removed the guests that were not compliant with the manager’s request to leave and did so in accordance with company policy,”
Before long, however, the public backlash began, with groups of over 100 people protesting outside Las Perlas.
— Carlos Saucedo (@Carlos_Saucedo) August 25, 2019
Ralliers call for Las Perlas to be closed down after last night’s incident: pic.twitter.com/jGKv3AGofH
— Nicholas Turton 🏳️🌈 (@turton_nicholas) August 25, 2019
Following the public outcry, Moses issued another statement:
“Our first and primary concern, and has been from day one, is to operate a safe place for all people. Period, no exceptions.”
“We regret that didn’t happen Friday night, and want to apologize to all of our guests including the Transgender community, a community who has come to our bar as well as works there.”
Now, the LAPD is investigating the possibility of Las Perlas staff committing a hate crime.
Beatrice Girmala, assistant chief of the LAPD, commented that the department was “committed to ensuring the safety of every Angeleno.”
Whether in public, or inside of a private establishment, all Angelenos deserve the freedom to coexist in harmony. Although we cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, rest assured the LAPD will thoroughly investigate the incident at Las Perlas. https://t.co/eUPqvsMdk8
— LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) August 25, 2019
Many public officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, have denounced the incident.
Los Angeles is a place where hate against any person, regardless of gender identity, is not tolerated. My office is in communication with @LAPDHQ about the incident at Las Perlas, and will ensure a proper investigation is completed.
— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) August 25, 2019
Now: Dozens demonstrate outside Las Perlas where transgender women were seen on camera physically removed by security following an altercation. Women say they were attacked by straight couple who didn’t get the same harsh treatment. Las Perlas in #DTLA closed its doors tonight. pic.twitter.com/TT9umEtreQ
— Jeff Nguyen (@jeffnguyen) August 25, 2019
For anyone in LA please boycot Las Perlas, they discriminated against some trans women last night and manhandled them in a completely inappropriate wayhttps://t.co/kdglxfIG5s
— Tall-yuh (@Tahlia_Rene) August 24, 2019
Anyone trying to go into Las Perlas right now is being asked to not go in pic.twitter.com/uHlZLxhxKD
— L.A. TACO 🌴🌮 (@LATACO) August 25, 2019
#LasPerlas bar in DTLA was forced to close for the night as hundreds rallied in support of the Trans community. Video of incident last night shows Trans women being thrown out by security following a verbal assault that turned physical between them and heterosexual couple. @KTLA pic.twitter.com/XheLRV8QTW
— Carlos Saucedo (@Carlos_Saucedo) August 25, 2019
Twitter stood strongly against the transphobia displayed by Las Perlas staff.
This is beyond despicable!!! Those so called bouncers should be jailed, and @LasPerlasLA should pay their victims restitution, and lose their business. Its not a community setting. Its one that accepts hate.
— xTimeSlayerx (@SlayerxTime) August 25, 2019
TRANS LIVES MATTER! I'm glad they're standing up for the community!!
— charlies (@sseilrahc) August 25, 2019
#LaPerlas made some severely bad choices. Patrons at a public bar being mistreated by some alleged insecure homophobes who also apparantly threatened them with gun violence? You then manhandle and throw the victims out? Get ready for your bar sales to sink like the Titanic.
— Kenneth Buchanan (@kbuch10) August 25, 2019
Good! I’m glad to hear that a hate crime report was filed. I just hope these horrible people are held accountable for their actions.
— Kathy MacLellan (@kmaclellan) August 25, 2019
Hopefully, the investigation is finished swiftly and the bar faces appropriate consequences for its actions.
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