Phoenix police are investigating after a transgender teen was apparently assaulted by up to 20 people at a west Valley apartment complex.
Dakota Kern says she was invited to a pool party at the complex near 35th and Dunlap avenues on August 16. The 18-year-old, who has identified as a woman for five years, says she knew some people at the pool, others were strangers.
Soon after, Kern says, people began shouting gay slurs so she and two friends started to leave the pool area. As she was walking away, she says a man yelled “get it, get it” and a group of up to 20 people attacked her.
“Then one of the guys, he ends up grabbing me by my head, grabbing me by my hair and then he hit me a few times,” says Kern.
The encounter was captured on cell phone video and circulated on social media, Kern says, by one of her attackers. The footage shows Kern being shoved to the ground and kicked repeatedly.
“I passed out, hit my head on the concrete,” says Kern. “My friend was above me like slapping my face like ‘hey, come on come on, get up so we can go.’”
Kern was checked out at the hospital and suffered cuts and bruises. She now believes she was lured to the pool for the assault.
Phoenix police say their bias crimes unit is investigating. The unit handles cases where crimes occur, in whole or in part, as a result of a prejudice toward an individual or group.
Anyone with information is urged to call police.
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