At 10:05 p.m. on Aug. 23, a man and a woman allegedly began shouting transphobic slurs at a group of queer people of color at the prominent mezcal bar Las Perlas in Downtown Los Angeles. Security personnel soon came over and removed both the suspects and the victims from the property.
Khloe Rios, one of the victims, recorded video of the incident that immediately went viral:
The video shows the bar’s security guard forcibly removing a transgender woman, Jennifer Bianchi, from the premises. Rios told reporters that her group included transgender women of color, gay men of color and a gender non-conforming person.
The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating this incident as a hate crime, according to publicly available data.
This incident sparked immediate outrage from the LGBTQ+ community, particularly from transgender people of color. A protest took place in front of the bar the next day. The hashtag #BoycottLasPerlas began trending.
With growing public outcry, we decided to see how the LAPD recorded this incident. So we scoured the information in its publicly available database:
Four individual reports appear in the database, as, per LAPD policy, a report is filed for each victim of a crime, though each report follows an almost identical pattern. This is how the case looks like:
The crime code used by the police to describe the suspect’s action include “0443: threaten to harm victim (other than kill).” This code is different from “0421: threaten to kill,” which does not appear in the four reports.
Out of the four victims’ reports, only one report uses the bias crime code “1510: Bias: Anti-Transgender.” Bias codes are used to identify the victim’s characteristics ranging from sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, disability and more.
Another code was also used in this same report: “2058.” This code is used when the victim is targeted because of their gender nonconformity. According to Det. Orlando Martinez, Hate Crime Coordinator for the LAPD, the department understands “the term is not a synonym for transgender and should only be used if someone self-identifies as gender non-conforming.” This is included in the department’s officer training manual.
The three remaining reports used the code “1239: transgender.” But this code is only used to describe the victim, not the reason why they were targeted. The code “2036: hate-related language” was not included in the reports, even though the suspects allegedly shouted transphobic slurs at the victims.
So, these three reports read as follows: “The suspect threatened to harm, but not kill, the Hispanic transgender female victim at the Las Perlas bar. The suspect did not know the victim prior to the crime.”
For the transgender victim, the suspect threatened to harm, but not kill, the 30-year-old Hispanic transgender female victim at the Las Perlas bar. The suspect did not know the victim prior to the crime. The victim was targeted because of her gender nonconformity. The crime was also classified by the LAPD as a hate crime with an “Anti-Transgender” bias.
The suspect threatened to harm, but not kill, the 40-year-old Hispanic transgender male victim at the Las Perlas bar. The suspect did not know the victim prior to the crime.
The suspect threatened to harm, but not kill, the 24-year-old Hispanic transgender female victim at the Las Perlas bar. The suspect did not know the victim prior to the crime.
The suspect threatened to harm, but not kill, the 30-year-old Hispanic transgender female victim at the Las Perlas bar. The suspect did not know the victim prior to the crime.
The reports did not include personal details about the two suspects. However, the suspects were identified as a man and a woman, said the LAPD’s Martinez. He also confirmed that no employee of the bar is being investigated for committing a hate crime.
Las Perlas bar is owned by a company called Pouring with Heart, which fired its security company after this incident and is seeking a new one that requires sensitivity training, according to a statement Pouring with Heart provided to Eater LA.
We track every hate crime that is reported to the Los Angeles Police Department in the City of Los Angeles. We have reported about record-setting daily highs of reported hate crimes, including one day with 11 reported hate crimes and two days with eight reports so far this year. As of this writing, there have been 232 hate crimes reported so far this year. Last year, there were a total of 293.
How we did it: We examined publicly available LAPD data on the reported hate crime on Aug. 23. We also combed through reports of hate crimes using the code “0903.” For neighborhood boundaries, we rely on the borders defined by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more about our data here.
LAPD data only reflects crimes that are reported to the department, not how many crimes actually occurred. In making our calculations, we rely on the data the LAPD makes publicly available.
Additionally, revised reports do not always automatically become part of the public database. But, we will keep monitoring hate crimes in the City of Los Angeles.
Want to know how your neighborhood fares? Or simply just interested in our data? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.