News & Opinion
In a recent court ruling, two men 19-year-old Keaton Morris and 23-year-old Kevin York Jr. accepted a plea deal sentencing of one year in jail and three years of probation for a violent attack on a transgender woman at the Minneapolis Light Rail Transit (LRT) station.
The incident, which occurred earlier this year in February, sent shockwaves through the community, highlighting the need for increased vigilance in ensuring public safety and addressing hate crimes.
According to the report from Fox 9 News, three people physically assaulted and stole a clutch purse from a transgender woman at the Lake Street/Midtown Station. Security video showed the woman being pushed downstairs. The Metro Transit police responded around 9:45 a.m. on Feb. 28, 2023, reporting a woman was actively bleeding from her head with "visible brain matter" on the ground, along with numerous other injuries.
According to the charges, officers at that station tracked down two men, later identified as Keaton Morris and Kevin York Jr. In the charges, police say York was found with the trans woman's clutch purse in his possession. Both were charged with one count of third-degree assault and aggravated robbery.
Despite the police stating in their report they had concerns that the attack was driven by bias because the victim was transgender, Keaton nor York are facing hate crime charges.
Moreover, it came to light during the trial that Keaton Morris has been struggling with a fentanyl addiction, which likely played a significant role in his actions. In response to this revelation, the court made a decision to move him to a drug treatment center as part of his sentence. By doing so, the aim is to address the root causes of his violent behavior and help him become a productive member of society.
Judge Peter Cahill, presiding over the sentencing, addressed Morris directly, stating, "That seems to be the biggest problem here, making you a danger not only to public safety, but to yourself."
This remark emphasizes the seriousness of the incident and underscores the importance of providing necessary rehabilitation and support to individuals who engage in violent acts.
At the time when the story first surfaced, Metro Transit made a statement denouncing the attack and reaffirming its commitment to public safety. The organization acknowledged the incident's distressing impact on the LGBTQ+ community and vowed to take concrete steps to improve security conditions at the Lake Street/Midtown Station. Their statement read:
"While the investigation into this horrible assault is underway, we want to reiterate our commitment to addressing the public safety concerns that have been highlighted by this incident, and to improving conditions at the Lake Street/Midtown Station in particular. Police will continue to proactively patrol and remotely monitor this location, and we are advancing plans to expand our official presence on transit by bringing security officers to this station and other boarding areas later this year. We recognize that this incident is particularly disturbing to the LGBTQ+ community. As an organization, we denounce hate in all its forms and will persist in our efforts to provide a safe and welcoming system for all."
The attack on the transgender woman at the Minneapolis LRT station serves as a stark reminder of the need for continued efforts to combat hate and prejudice in our communities.
Ultimately, incidents like these should serve as a wake-up call for society to redouble efforts to create a more inclusive and accepting environment, where hate has no place, and all individuals can live without fear of violence or discrimination. It is only through collective action and solidarity that we can build a safer and more compassionate world for everyone.