Thursday, July 04, 2013

Arrest Made In Racially Charged Denardo Pizzeria Attack Case

On June 23 there was a 3:15 AM EDT incident in a Washington DC pizzeria in the 1800 block of 14th St. NW that went viral due to it being filmed and posted on three websites and briefly on YouTube.

It started when 28 year old Raymone Harding and 22 year old Rachel Manna Sahle of Gaithersburg, MD started making fun of drag queen Miles Denardo's makeup as he entered the Manny & Olga's location to pick up food after performing at the Black Cat nightclub in the same block under his Heidi Glum performance name.

It escalated into a heated argument in which epithets were exchanged, one of the women is alleged to have slapped Denardo, Denardo is alleged to have spit in the face of one of the women and egged on by an unidentified patron, resulted in a fight in which Denardo was punched by Harding and Sahle while being dragged across the floor of the take out pizzeria by his hair as bystanders laughed and cheered.   

Elements of the Washington DC and national LGBT community decried the attack in which the 'faggot' and 'tranny' slurs were deployed by the women against Denardo.  The African American end of the trans and SGL community were not too happy (myself included) about Denardo tweeting the n-word in the aftermath of it and the LGBT social media bigot eruptions that ensued aiming racial animus at Harding and Sahle.

There's also the problematic point of the HIV positive Denardo admitting to spitting in the face of one of the women and claiming they now had HIV.

If a person is HIV positive and deliberately spits in the direction of another person or bites them, in some states that is considered assault with a deadly weapon.  

On Tuesday police arrested Harding and charged her with misdemeanor simple assault in the ugly incident which is still under investigation by DC Metro Police. 

The misdemeanor simple assault charge carries a maximum six month jail sentence and/or a $1000 fine.

Sahle filed a police report the night of the June 23 incident accusing Denardo of biting her on the thigh and telling her 'now you have AIDS'.  

Denardo is claiming self defense for the felony aggravated assault charge that carries a maximum 10 year jail sentence,

He asserts in a Washington Blade interview that he had no choice but to bite her in order to get her to release the grip she had on his hair.   He also denies saying that she now has AIDS when the tape of the incident does capture him saying precisely that.

There's enough wrong to go around on both sides.  And as the conventional wisdom goes when you have two conflicting sides of a story, the truth is somewhere in the middle.  

It will be up to federal prosecutors in the District to sort out where the facts are and who is telling the truth in this convoluted and racially charged case.   

TransGriot Update: Rachel Manna Sahle was also arrested. charged with misdemeanor simple assault and released along with Harding after both women plead not guilty in DC Superior Court.
Both are scheduled for misdemeanor initial status hearings on September 5, ordered to take drug tests and stay away from Denardo.  

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