Transgender woman hit with fireworks, bat in DC

A young person was attacked with fireworks and a baseball bat. She believes it happened because she's transgender.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A horrifying attack in D.C.

A 20-year-old says she was attacked with fireworks and a bat, because she’s a Transgender Woman. The young woman says her sense of security is now gone. The main suspect, she says, is not being charged.

"Ahhh,” is what you hear in a YouTube video of people playing around and getting burned with a Roman Candle. It’s all fun and games for them.

Not so much for 20-year-old Desiree Copeland, who showed WUSA9 the scars on her head and large burn on her neck. Copeland said she was beaten and burned about a week ago.

RELATED: Security guard charged with assaulting transgender woman

"I asked him, ‘Why was he bothering me?’ He was like, 'Because I can and because I felt like it,” Copeland said.

This happened in the neighborhood near Washington Nationals Park. Court documents say Copeland was walking by the 1200 block of First St. SW at around 8 p.m. on July 2nd. That’s when she says a kid started following her. He was shooting off a Roman Candle in her direction.

Copeland says she was hit in the eye and neck and the fireworks kept on coming. Copeland identified the kid as a teenager and tried to find his parents. That’s when he left and returned with a bat.

"I was like, ‘Is this the end?'” said Copeland.

By the time officers responded just a few blocks over, the police report says Copeland had been beaten with a bat. She said she was knocked unconscious.

Court documents say after being struck, she went after the teen but someone tripped her. Others joined in, punching and kicking her in the head and face. However, those charging documents are not for that teen.

Copeland says he’s not being charged because, according to police, she appears to be the aggressor for chasing him after the fireworks and bat.

"I feel like it's teaching him that it's okay to just bother people for no apparent reason,” she said.

Copeland said she’s trying to keep strong. Community members are fundraising for her hospital bill.

Frustrated, Copeland said, "I want to go see my family. I want to go see my mom but I can't because I don't know whether the same people are going to bother me."

DC Police say the case is still under investigation and are not commenting on the known teen's status. 

A 23-year-old named Tracy Darnell Vandyke is facing a simple assault charge for taking part in the assault. Court documents say he kicked and punched Copeland in the head and face.

He’s due in court again on Wednesday.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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