Two men suspected of beating a transgender woman in downtown Spokane were arrested Tuesday, eight hours after police sought the public’s help to identify the attackers.
The victim of the attack, Jacina Carla Scamahorn, said she was at Boots Bakery, 20 W. Main Ave., Friday night when she was beaten by two men, who broke bones in her face.
The case was highlighted this week by Spokane’s Human Rights Commission. On Tuesday morning, Spokane police released pictures of suspects captured by surveillance cameras. The two men were arrested late Tuesday afternoon.
Blaine Stum, the commission’s chairman, said although he remains concerned about the initial treatment of the victim by police, results of the investigation and the charges the suspects face indicate that police took the case seriously.
“My initial reaction is that I’m very pleased to see that they were brought to justice so quickly,” Stum said.
Adam R. Flippen, 45, is facing charges of second-degree assault and malicious harassment. Marc A. Fessler, 42, is facing one charge of malicious harassment. Both men have been booked into the Spokane County Jail and are expected to appear in court today.
Malicious harassment is Washington’s version of a hate crime. The law says a person is guilty of malicious harassment if he or she “maliciously and intentionally” assaults someone, destroys his or her property, or threatens him or her “because of his or her perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory handicap.”
Scamahorn had several bones broken in her face by the men who had reportedly been drinking at Zola, a bar next door to the bakery. Scamahorn said in a previous interview that she had left the bakery but went back inside when the men began verbally harassing her. Two bakery employees said they witnessed the assault.
She said the police who responded to the assault call were disrespectful, referring to her as a man over the objections of Boots employees.
“Staff tried to correct them, and they basically told them to shut up,” she said on Monday.
Attempts to reach Scamahorn on Tuesday evening were unsuccessful.
Business owner Patrick DeVries, who also works with the Crime Stoppers program, said he is one of several people who contacted police to identify Flippen when police released surveillance photos of the two suspects early Tuesday.
“He did some painting on my property a couple years ago,” DeVries said. “We chatted here and there.”
The beating spurred a call to action as 150 people descended on the Spokane City Council meeting Monday night to speak against such violence and complain that police officers were not respectful of Scamahorn.
Flippen, who owns Master Painting Inc., has several driving infractions on his record, including a citation for operating a watercraft under the influence in Kootenai County. He has convictions for domestic violence assault, malicious mischief, reckless endangerment, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence and disorderly conduct.
Fessler was convicted of physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated in 2004.
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