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Wednesday, March 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Two men deny accusations in assault of transgender woman

The two men accused of assaulting a transgender woman Friday after she spat in one of their faces outside a downtown bakery and bar are denying they taunted her or hit and kicked her multiple times.

Adam R. Flippen and Marc A. Fessler were released from jail without having to post bond following a brief court appearance Wednesday.

Jacina Scamahorn told investigators she was outside Boots Bakery & Lounge and the bar Zola when Flippen and Fessler made derogatory statements to her. She told police she spat in Flippen’s face in response. She said he then followed her inside the bakery and screamed expletives before punching her in the eye. She said Fessler also used vulgarities to describe her.

The assault prompted about 150 people to attend the Spokane City Council meeting Monday and call for stronger protections for gay and transgender residents.

Flippen, 45, is facing charges of second-degree assault and malicious harassment. Fessler, 42, is facing one charge of malicious harassment. Malicious harassment is Washington’s version of a hate crime.

Scamahorn said she was in and out of consciousness but does remember being kicked in the face. She said Wednesday that she spit at Flippen because she felt like she needed to defend herself.

She said she preferred to spit rather than swear.

“I have my voice and my spit,” she said.

A bartender told police he tried to stop the assault and then went to get the Zola bouncers for help after Flippen threatened him as well, according to court documents. He came back inside in time to see one of the men kick Scamahorn in the face, but he told police the man had his back to him and he wasn’t sure which one it was.

A customer in the business gave the same details as the bartender and said she heard Flippen threaten the bartender. She said she thought it was Flippen who kicked Scamahorn in the face, according to court documents.

Witnesses said Scamahorn was on the ground convulsing and vomiting after the attack.

Flippen and Fessler both said they assumed Scamahorn was a poorly dressed man even though she was wearing a skirt. They both said Scamahorn started causing a scene. And both men denied using derogatory names to refer to her, according to court documents.

The men made voluntary statements to police Tuesday from the office of their attorney, Robert Cossey.

Flippen admitted punching her once, but both denied kicking her, according to court documents. When a detective asked how one blow could cause a black eye and broken facial bones, Flippen told the detective she might have done it to herself after they left, according to court documents.

Flippen also denied threatening the bartender when he tried to intervene.

Court documents have little reference to the police officers who initially responded to the assault call. Scamahorn has said in previous interviews that the officers were disrespectful and persisted in calling her a man.

The documents include a short statement from Officer Scott Haney, who said only that Scamahorn appeared to be intoxicated and he was unable to get a statement from her.

Scamahorn said she had not been drinking that night and customers who spoke to police said she did not appear to be intoxicated.

“I wasn’t able to talk,” Scamahorn said. “Fluid was at the back of my throat. I couldn’t breathe.”

She also said responding officers refused to let the bartender help her as she lay on the floor.

Scamahorn said she doesn’t care that Flippen and Fessler were released from jail. They were ordered not to consume alcohol, not to approach her and not to go to Boots or Zola.

“It was emotional,” she said of seeing the two men in court. “Seeing them sober, it looks like they’ve been dealing with it in their own way.”

Police said in a news release Wednesday that they are trying to locate three witnesses who were inside Boots Bakery at the time of the assault. There were two men sitting at the bar and a woman sitting in a booth. Those witnesses are asked to call Crime Check at (509) 456-2233.

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