NEW ORLEANS -- Police are investigating a possible hate crime after suspects videotaped an attack and uploaded it to YouTube Tuesday.
The victim is a transgender woman.
The incident happened along North Claiborne Avenue in the 7th Ward.
The suspects videotaped themselves driving along this road yelling at a transgender woman. The video later shows the woman being physically attacked. The local transgender community said this video shows their biggest fears coming to life.
An LGBT advocate, who wanted to remain anonymous, has been in contact with the victim.
“She’s in shock,” the advocate said. “She’s traumatized by the event. It disrupted her way of living. This individual, from my understanding, was minding their own business."
Casey Nunez is a concerned citizen who contacted the police after seeing the video. He said watching the attack play out left him shaken.
"My reaction was absolute disbelief at first,” Nunez said. “It's absolutely horrible. It's something that should never happen anywhere."
Still, violent acts like this one are happening across the country. 2016 marked a deadly year for the transgender community. Twenty-one transgender Americans were killed in hate crimes.
"This video that went viral shows what can happen to an individual of trans experience,” the advocate said.
Many live in fear of experiencing a similar assault.
"They’re frightened,” the advocate added. “Unfortunately, it brings to light it should be something that's one someone’s mind, especially in the trans community."
Advocates hope more can be done to protect the LGBT community in New Orleans and across the country. Until then, they say everyone needs to be alert.
"They should be more cautious and more aware of their surroundings,” the advocate said. “And just really be careful."
Police are investigating the video, however, they said until they talk to the victim, they cannot officially classify the incident as a hate crime. Police are asking the victim and any witnesses to come forward.
(© 2017 WWL)