August 9, 2020 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Man Faces Hate Crime Charges After Heated Altercation in DTLA Bar

Mike Feuer, Los Angeles City Attorney, announced charges against a man in connection with a “heated altercation” at Las Perlas bar in downtown Los Angeles that ended with transgender women and gay men being dragged out of the bar. 

Eduardo Gonzalez has been charged with one count of making a criminal threat and a second count alleging the criminal threat constituted a hate crime. 

The incident happened almost a year ago on the night of August 23 last year. 

On that night, several transgender women and gay men met at Las Perlas bar for drinks following the DTLA Proud Festival.

During that time Gonzalez and his girlfriend sat at a table with the group and allegedly “made multiple transphobic and misgendering slurs toward the transgender women, leading to an argument with the group,” officials said. 

Eventually a security guard at the bar forcibly removed everyone involved but while being kicked out, Gonzalez allegedly shouted threats that he would return with a gun. 

Video of the altercation went viral over the weekend, the footage shows one person being carried out of Las Perlas. It then pans to a woman, identified as Jennifer Bianchi, shouting, “Don’t touch me like that,” before she is shoved into a wall. Bianchi shoves back and says she needs her shoe before she’s carried out as well. 

A third woman is put into a chokehold before being forced out.

The group was made up of staff and volunteers from Bienestar Human Services, a non-profit social services organization for Latino and LGBTQ groups. They said in a statement later that they were treated unfairly because of their identity.

After the incident, a protest was started at Las Perlas the following day, as well as support by Mayor Eric Garcetti, who vowed that a thorough investigation will be done.

In a tweet after the incident occurred Mayor Garcetti wrote “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.”

Feuer echoed the sentiment in announcing the charges against Gonzalez and he is scheduled to be arraigned on August 7th.

Las Perlas bar also issued an apology on their Facebook account stating a new security staff — one that has received sensitivity training — is being hired. 

They went on to say “Our first and primary concern, and has been from day one, is to operate a safe place for all people,” the bar posted. “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.”

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