2 men accused of beating transgender woman at Minneapolis light rail station

Two men have been charged in connection with an assault and robbery at a Minneapolis light rail station that left a transgender woman seriously injured.

According to a criminal complaint, the assault happened around 9:45 a.m. Monday at the Lake Street Blue Line station. A 911 caller advised dispatch that a woman was badly hurt and lying on the ground.

When police arrived, they found the victim bruised and bleeding with bumps on her forehead and a serious injury to the back of her head, the complaint states. She said, “They hit me,” and otherwise struggled to put coherent sentences together. She was taken to the hospital, where a CT scan showed she had suffered a broken rib and internal bleeding in her head.

The victim was listed in critical but stable condition on Monday.

Surveillance footage showed three suspects beating the woman, pushing her down the stairs and continuing to assault her, the complaint states. Two of those suspects boarded a southbound train and exited at the VA Medical Center Station, where police met them and took them into custody.

Kevin Dewayne York Jr., 23, and Keaten James Morris, 19, are charged with one count each of first-degree aggravated robbery and third-degree assault. They remain in custody at the Hennepin County Jail and are due to make their first court appearances on Wednesday.

York told police the victim was “slashing at people,” possibly with a box cutter, according to the complaint.

The complaint states police were concerned the attack was the result of anti-transgender bias. As of Tuesday, the defendants’ charges were not listed as bias-motivated crimes.

Minneapolis City Council Member Jason Chavez — who represents Ward 9, where the attack took place — issued a statement Tuesday night condemning the assault and offering support for the LGBTQ community.

“On Monday, a transgender woman was violently attacked at the Lake Street Light Rail Station. She was left with a broken rib, collapsed lung, & internal cranial bleeding,” he wrote. “Please keep her, her family, and our community in your mind. While we may not know the motive at this moment, the harsh reality is that LGBTQ+ and trans community members are disproportionately impacted by violence and discrimination.”

Chavez said he is working on organizing a community meeting on transit safety at this light rail station and other transit stops along Lake Street.

He also encouraged members of the LGBTQ community in need of support to reach out to the group OutFront Minnesota. Their helpline can be reached at 612-822-0127 option 3.