A woman is seeking damages from a Staten Island deli where she alleges she was maced and kicked by an employee who she said discriminated against her due to her LGBTQ identity and mistook her for being trans.
Jasmine Adams, who is bisexual and cisgender, filed a discrimination lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Staten Island on Oct. 5 against West Brighton Deli Grocery & Grill for the incident that allegedly occurred on July 28, 2023. She told the New York Daily News she was in the deli on the phone with a friend for whom she was purchasing marijuana — which is legal in New York. The lawsuit alleges that it was only after an employee at the deli noticed a rainbow band on Adams’ Apple Watch that he called her a “transvestite,” after which she was “maced” and “dragged out” of the shop by her hair.
After the employee had dragged Adams out of the store, the suit contends, he continued to kick her, “causing severe injury.”
“Even if I was a transvestite, what does that have to do with anything?” Adams said to the Daily News. “Why were you so comfortable putting your hands on me? I wasn’t being aggressive. I didn’t have any weapon. I was a customer.”
While the worker has been fired, the deli had not been cooperative in helping to identify him to the police, according to the Daily News, and the lawsuit claims the deli failed to terminate the worker immediately following the incident. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is involved in the case, police told the Daily News.
Hate crimes directed at the LGBTQ community are on the rise across the country. A recent FBI report found there 16% increase in hate incidents due to sexual orientation and gender identity combined from 2021 to 2022.