She's having a bad year

I first wrote about Samantha Hulsey back in January, when she was attacked with a friend on a Muni bus by a man who stabbed her twice with a steak knife while calling Hulsey and her friend "faggots".

On November 15 a San Francisco couple, Dewayne Edward Kemp, 36, and Rebecca Louise Westover, 42, were arrested near Eighth and Mission for allegedly assaulting transgender resident Samantha Hulsey.

In court Friday afternoon, Kemp and Westover pleaded not guilty to the charges, contending that they were acting in self-defense when Westover threw a cup of hot coffee an Hulsey and her girlfriend, Daira Hopwood and Kemp punched Hulsey four times in the face while uttering transphobic comments.

Attorney for Kemp, Kwixuan Maloof, had a different story about what happened. He claimed the couple was out for a walk, minding their own business, when Hulsey pushed between them. Then Kemp said, "Doesn't anyone say excuse me anymore?" Hulsey then, according to Kemp, called him the n-word, prompting Westover to take a punch at Hulsey, and Hulsey to respond with a punch at Westover. Then Kemp hit Hulsey in order to defend his girlfriend.

Maloof claims Kemp saw his fiancé being attacked by a man dressed as a woman and punched Hulsey in order to defend Westover.

Westover's attorney, Murray Zisholz, told Judge Torpoco that Hulsey is about 80 pounds heavier than his client and also, legally male. He said that Kemp was trying to defend Westover from a man who was both significantly heavier and taller than his client.

When you have a man, I don't care if he identifies as a woman, swing at a woman, it's defensible.

I don't care if that man is wearing a dress or not.

--Maloof

Maloof claims that Kemp and Westover tried to file charges against Hulsey, but were then arrested themselves.

San Francisco police say that there were three witnesses who "corroborated that the suspects made homophobic or transphobic comments at the victim prior to the assault. The confrontation was also caught on surveillance video, which is now being analyzed.

Kemp was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault likely to cause great bodily injury, conspiracy, criminal threats, with hate crime enhancements, as well as a parole violation, police said.

Westover was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery, and conspiracy, with hate crime enhancements, as well as for being a person convicted of a felony in possession of pepper spray, according to police.

San Francisco Assistant District Attorney Blair McGregor listed both Kemp and Westover's previous felony convictions before the judge Friday and noted that Hulsey has no criminal record.

Judge Torpoco said that the police reports do not make Hulsey out to be the aggressor and said that their criminal past led him not to release the pair from jail on their own recognizance.

The judge ordered Kemp's bail to be set at $473,000 and for Westover's to be set at $373,000.

A criminal protective order was also issued to protect Hulsey, should the pair post bond.

There is never an excuse for violence in our communities, and while much progress has been made in the last decade to advance transgender rights, anti-transgender violence sadly still exists.

This incident is a stark reminder that greater awareness is needed to end bullying, discrimination and violence against our transgender community.

--Mayor Ed Lee

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