Two Transgender women have been ordered to stand trial for allegedly threatening to use a taser and pepper spray in their defense. The assaults which were caught on tape, occurred when the two trans women were trying to leave the rooftop bar, Hurricanes, in Huntington Beach last October.
This despite the arresting officers admitting at the preliminary hearing on July 14, 2021, that they repeatedly called the women ‘trannies’ to other officers, assailants, and wittnesses at the scene, concealed evidence from other officers, omitted video evidence and lied about the incident repeatedly in the incident reports.
The two transgender women who are deadnamed in the original reporting by the OC Reporter will be referred to as victims in this article.
The transgender community asks @HBPD_PIO
to police responsibly. “Forgetting” to include evidence in police reports, calling victims of assault “trannies” and framing them as criminals is not responsible police work
— planetransgender (@planetrans) July 15, 2021
The incident occurred at the rooftop bar, Hurricanes, in Huntington Beach. The transgender women were looking down at the commotion on the street, basically, people watching, according to testimony. The assailants were down below, saw the transgender women, and began calling them transphobic slurs and challenging them to a fight, according to testimony. When the transgender women tried to leave peacefully they were repeatedly knocked to the ground by a cisgender male — which was captured on video.
The defendants then pulled out pepper spray and a Taser. That’s when the police showed up.
“Oh yeah, I forgot” – Officer Tyler DeTrinidad.
The three Huntington Beach officers who responded to the incident acknowledged on the witness stand that they submitted faulty and incomplete police reports that failed to note physical attacks on the two transgender women and injuries they received, as well as their complaints of harassment that appeared bigoted in nature.
“Oh yeah, I forgot,” said Officer Tyler DeTrinidad when asked by Van-Anh To, a deputy public defender representing one of the transgender women, why he didn’t note in his police report that one of the transgender women claimed in an interview with him that she was sucker-punched.
Though not allowed as evidence at the preliminary hearing, the public defenders played footage from DeTrinidad’s body-worn camera in court when he said he couldn’t remember details from that night. Audio from the video, which depicted DeTrinidad’s field interview with the transgender women shortly after the incident, could be clearly heard.
“Am I bleeding?” one of the transgender women asks in the video.
“No, you have some swelling on the side of your head,” DeTrinidad said.
Details of that interview did not make it into DeTrinidad’s police report. He acknowledged that he didn’t tell other officers, supervisors or detectives about the transgender women’s claim of being punched. And he said he didn’t follow up when the transgender victim described the man she claimed hit her. DeTrinidad didn’t try to find anyone matching her assailant’s description, nor find witnesses to the alleged assault, nor attempt to get security camera footage of the incident.
Slur captured on video
Footage from DeTrinidad’s body-worn camera also captured him referring to both women as “trannies” multiple times, a slur to which transgender people highly object.
Deputy public defenders Wednesday said the body-worn camera footage showed Giles’ only response to the slurs the night of the incident was to ask whether DeTrinidad’s camera was recording them.
“(Giles’) main concern was that it was being recorded, not that there was a possible hate crime,” To said.
To said the Huntington Beach officers’ response showed evidence of bias against the two transgender women and said their reports of the incident were not credible.
“What you have is they’re all standing there making fun of these transgender women,” To said.
Prosecutors argued Wednesday that the officers acknowledged and corrected their mistakes through their testimony.
No one was hit with the stun gun during the incident. But Judge Cooper said he was not presented with any video evidence countering prosecutors’ claim that one of the transgender victims used the taser in a threatening way. He said, therefore, he could not dismiss prosecutors’ charges.