Rochester Police on Aug. 10 announced an arrest in an alleged hate crime assault.
Police charged Rashad Turner, 24, of Rochester with second-degree assault as a hate crime. The charge stems from an incident July 31.
Rochester Police reported that officers responded at around 1 p.m. July 31 to Melville Street for the report of an assault that occurred on Denver Street.
Officers found a 30-year-old and a 23-year-old who said they had been approached by two suspects who engaged in a verbal altercation regarding one of the victim’s sexual orientation.
The 30-year-old was physically injured and taken to a hospital.
The person was identified by the Democrat and Chronicle as Samson Tequir.
At the time of the incident, RPD said it was investigating the incident as a potential hate crime and was working with the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office. RPD was asking the public to call 911 if they had information about the assault.
“The Rochester Police Department has no tolerance for any crime committed against a citizen of this community, let alone a crime that is committed because of an individual’s identity,” Chief La’Ron Singletary wrote in a news release. “We will continue to work with the District Attorney’s Office to ensure those responsible are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren released the following statement upon news of the arrest:
“Every citizen of Rochester deserves to be able to walk down the street in peace and safety. The recent vicious attack that occurred on a transgender resident of our city was particularly deplorable, not just because of its violent nature, but because it was rooted in hate. There is no place in our city for any type of violence, but violent, hate-driven crimes are particularly abhorrent and unacceptable. This crime was investigated aggressively by the Rochester Police Department and I am grateful today that charges have been brought against the suspect involved in this act. In America, our transgender youth and adults are at a far greater risk to be the victims of violence. I want the transgender community here in Rochester to know we will not accept, nor will we ignore, violence perpetuated against them for merely being themselves. I also hope that those in our community who would contemplate violence against any one of our neighbors merely for being who they are will choose not to engage in this behavior knowing that we will be aggressive in our investigation and prosecution of hate-based offenses. In Rochester, we will uphold and protect civil and human rights for all people and we will treat and support all of our citizens equally no matter their race, gender, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation or nation of origin.”
After the assault, City Council released the following statement:
“On (July 31), two members of the Rochester community were assaulted on Denver Street in the Beechwood Neighborhood. Information suggests that these individuals were victimized as members of the LGBTQ+ community. One of the individuals sustained multiple injuries and was admitted to an area hospital for treatment.
“Upon learning of this incident late Friday night, the City Council reached out to the Chief of Police, who assured us that RPD would be investigating this incident as a potential hate crime. Council President Loretta C. Scott also reached out to the District Attorney asking that their office work with RPD to ensure this crime be investigated and prosecuted as a hate crime, and the DA’s office has shared their commitment to partner with RPD and at this time they intend to treat this as a hate crime investigation.
“The entire Council stands firmly in support of the victims and condemns acts of violence in our community, especially those inflicted on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, or disability.
Our hearts are with the victim of this senseless act of violence and we wish them a quick recovery.”
City Council also urged anyone with information about the assault to call 911.
On Aug. 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force would join Rochester law enforcement in the investigation. He said the task force would provide “any and all resources necessary to bring the assailants to justice.”
In the news release announcing the arrest, RPD said Patrol Section Investigations assisted with the preliminary and follow-up investigations, which led to the suspect’s identity.