The 28-year-old victim of an October anti-LGBT hate crime in Bushwick has been released from the hospital but requires round-the-clock care at home while recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
Kimball “Kimy” Hartman, a transgender woman, was attacked at about 11:20 p.m. on October 12 by a group of four men who shouted what police described as “anti-gay statements” while beating her with a plexiglass board. The incident took place outside 1250 Bushwick Avenue near Halsey Street.
Hartman was originally taken to Elmhurst Hospital in Queens in critical condition and later transferred to the Bellevue Hospital Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation Unit in Manhattan, from which she was released on November 3.
According to a release from Kate Barnhart –– executive director of New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth, where the victim has been a client –– Hartman will require 24-hour supervision at home, while she is taking 10 medications and engaged in intensive outpatient brain rehabilitation. She will also need additional neurosurgery to replace a missing portion of her skull.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Barnhart spoke with a gay man who was with Hartman at the time of her attack. The companion said the two were approached by four men who asked what they were doing on Bushwick Avenue. According to Barnhart, when the men heard Hartman’s voice, they recognized that she is transgender and called her and her friend “faggots” and proceeded to punch and kick Hartman, as well as strike her with the plexiglass board.
The assault is being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force, and a surveillance video of two men suspected of being among the attackers has been released but no arrests have been made. One of the suspects is described as “a male black, last seen wearing a gray sleeveless sweatshirt with the word ‘Freedom’ on it, along with a dark long sleeve shirt, gray sweatpants, white sneakers, and ski cap.” A second suspect is described as “a male black with close cut hair, last seen wearing a blue Nike hooded sweatshirt with blue sweatpants.” The other two suspects are also described as black men.
An online fundraiser has been set up to help Hartman cover her expenses while she recovers. The fundraiser can be accessed at gofundme.com/gky85k.
A crowd of activists joined Hartman's friends and family at a rally at the site of the attack on October 14.
The October 12 attack was at least the second recent anti-LGBT bias incident in Bushwick. Three men have been indicted in connection with the shooting of a 22-year-old gay man on September 27 at about 7 a.m. on Broadway near Putnam Avenue.
The victim and several friends, who according to the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Anti-Violence Project identify as gay men, were dressed in women’s clothing when they were approached by three men who yelled, “Y’all faggots, trannies, men dressed like women, drag queens.” When the victim and his friends tried to leave, he was shot in the buttocks. After treatment at Brookdale Hospital, he was released. (Some news reports have referred to the victim and his friends as “transgender women,” though Gay City News cannot independently confirm that characterization, which differs from official accounts.)
While one media source identified the victim by name, at this point Gay City News is not doing so.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson appeared in Bushwick on October 28 to announce that the alleged shooter, 20-year-old Matthew Smith, had been indicted on 13 charges, including second-degree attempted murder as a hate crime, first-degree assault as a hate crime, and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. If convicted on the top charge, Smith would face up to 25 years in prison.
Cody Sigue, 22, and Tavon Johnson, 17, were indicted on multiple charges, including third-degree menacing as a hate crime, for which they could face up to a year in jail.
“In Brooklyn, everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or sexual identity, must be treated with dignity, and respect,” said Thompson. “I wanted to personally visit Bushwick today because in addition to being distressed about this attack, just two weeks later, on October 12, 2014, there was another hate crime perpetrated against a member of the LGBTQ community. In that exceptionally vicious attack, a 28-year-old transgender woman, who was walking on Bushwick Avenue near Halsey Street with a gay male friend, was punched and kicked and then struck in the head by a piece of plexiglass one of the suspects threw at her.”