Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Four Teens Arrested In Possible Bias Attack At Queens Shelter

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TWC News: Four Teens Arrested In Possible Bias Attack At Queens Shelter
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Four teenaged boys were arrested for attacking the director and several residents of a transgender center in Astoria Tuesday. NY1’s Ruschell Boone filed the following report.

Father Louis Braxton, Jr., who leads the transgender center "Carmen's Place" in Astoria, Queens, says he was trying to defend a group of transgender teens who were being assaulted Monday night when four teenaged boys attacked him with belts and paint cans.

“I was standing right here looking that way and they kind hit me from behind,” said Braxton, who says the incident happened in front of the shelter where he and the transgender teens live. “I have a couple of knots on my head right now and a fat lip.”

Braxton said the boys struck him after yelling anti-gay slurs at the transgender teens, who were horsing around outside the shelter.

Carmen's Place has been a safe haven for transgender and gay youth for about three years.

“When they said what they said, I was shocked,” said victim Alessandra Carver. “I was like, ÎYou feel good about what you're saying?’ and then that's when he was like, ÎWhy you talking?’ So he went there and took a trash can and hit me with the thing upside with one of them.”

Police say four teenagers were arrested for their role in the attack -- 17-year-old Tyreek Childs, 16-year-old Travaughn Payne, 17-year-old Shara Mozie and a minor whose name has not been released.

The teens have been charged with assault and criminal possession of a weapon. Police say they are still trying to determine whether or not they will be charged with a hate crime.

In the meantime, Braxton and the transgender teens say the attack left them feeling unsafe at their shelter, and they are now looking for a new location.

- Ruschell Boone
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