A man pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he threatened and hurled slurs at a group of transgender women in a downtown Los Angeles bar last summer sparking a confrontation with the establishment’s security team that was captured on video.
Eduardo Gonzalez, 28, is charged with one misdemeanor count each of making a criminal threat and a criminal threat constituting a hate crime, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Gonzalez is accused of approaching the group of transgender women who went to the Las Perlas bar and restaurant in downtown Los Angeles following the DTLA Proud Festival on Aug. 23, 2019.
The City Attorney’s Office alleges Gonzalez “made multiple transphobic and misgendering slurs” toward the women, prompting a heated confrontation. While being removed from the bar by security, he allegedly threatened to return with a gun.
“Acts of hate against transgender people have no place in our society,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement last month when the charges were announced. “Transgender people, especially transgender people of color, already face an unconscionable risk of violence. Perpetrators need to be held accountable.”
The confrontation and ensuing melee made headlines as a result of cell phone video showing club security subsequently physically ejecting the transgender women from the bar, despite their insistence they were not to blame for the original confrontation with Gonzalez.
The bar’s owner initially said the bar’s staff had acted in accordance with policy, but later said the security team had been replaced and the staff had received sensitivity training. The bar issued a statement apologizing to the women and the transgender community.
Lisa Bloom, attorney for the transgender women — Fernanda Celarie, Jennifer Cruz and Khloe Perez-Rios, said in May that she was petitioning the state to revoke the bar’s liquor license, citing a clause allowing such an action “when the continuance of a license would be contrary to public welfare or morals.”
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