A Maryland man has been charged with bias crimes after allegedly wielding a pocketknife at transgender people and threatening to cut off their genitalia, Annapolis’ Capital Gazette reports.
Police say Austin Keith Johnson, 51, made the threats earlier this week against two people walking near a strip mall in Baltimore’s Brooklyn Park neighborhood.
Johnson allegedly ran up behind the victims, calling them “he-shes” and saying he would cut them if they didn’t leave the area. According to the police report, one victim pushed a shopping cart toward the assailant when he began swinging the open knife.
After the victims reported the attack to a nearby Anne Arundel County officer, Johnson was soon arrested.
Police charged a Brooklyn Park man with hate crimes after he attacked two transgender people in a parking lot. https://t.co/bAae6aQntz
— Capital Gazette (@capgaznews) August 22, 2018
Johnson was charged with assaulting two people on the basis of their gender identity, as well as two counts each of first-degree assault, second-degree assault, and reckless endangerment. He is being held without bond.
The Capital Gazette did not specify the victims’ gender.
Johnson, who was on probation prior to this incident, has a history of misdemeanor charges including disorderly conduct, public intoxication, and theft.
Anne Arundel police spokesman Marc Limansky notes that this is the second anti-trans assault in the county this year. Officers responded earlier this month to a complaint of a man physically threatening his partner, who is in the process of transitioning.