ANDERSON — A woman was released on bail early Sunday morning after being arrested in connection with an alleged assault on a transgender man.
Dawn A. Taliaferro, 44, of Anderson, faces a preliminary charge of battery causing serious injury, a Class C felony, after she reportedly harassed and then punched the transgender man in the face early Saturday morning. Police are calling the incident the result of a disagreement, but the man claims it was a hate crime.
On Sunday, the alleged victim, a 50-year-old who is still transitioning from being a woman to a man, said he will require surgery on the shattered bones around his eyes and his jaw is out of alignment as a result of the attack. Despite the man's accusations, Lt. John Branson of the Anderson Police Department said the officers who investigated the case didn't get the sense that the incident was a hate crime.
"It basically boiled down to a difference of opinion," Branson said. "There was apparently some history between the two."
According to a probable cause affidavit, the battery happened at Big Baby's Bar on West Eighth Street after Taliaferro and the alleged victim had been drinking from late Friday night into Saturday morning.
The man entered the bar about 10 p.m. and started having drinks by himself. The man said he was harassed about his sexuality by a woman later identified as Taliaferro. He said Taliaferro made "disgusting" comments to him. Branson said he believed the two knew each other, but the man said he didn't know Taliaferro.
About 3 a.m., a bar employee called a taxi for the man, who was intoxicated. As he was leaving the bar, Taliaferro reportedly punched him in the right eye. He said he couldn't recount many details of the fight because he was drunk, but said it was definitely a hate crime.