A Texas boutique owner has been arrested and charged with hate crimes after being accused of attacking a transgender man and his boyfriend in April.
Police arrested Evan Berryhill-Jewell, the owner of Texas Angels Boutique, on assault charges Monday, said Richard Espinoza, spokesperson for the San Angelo Police Department.
Berryhill-Jewell was charged with assault because of bias or prejudice, an enhancement that carries more severe penalties if found to be guilty.
"Evan Berryhill's bond was set at $1000," Maj. Todd Allen, the Tom Green County Jail administrator, said in an email to The Advocate. "She was bonded out by Jenkins A Action Bail Bonds at 1:31 p.m. today."
In April, Charles Hardy and his boyfriend had just returned home from a birthday dinner for the latter around 9 p.m. when they were almost struck by a speeding vehicle as they attempted to walk from their car to a nearby trash container.
The driver, Berryhill-Jewell, double-parked her vehicle and screamed at the couple, particularly at Hardy, who is transgender.
A viral video clip shows Berryhill-Jewell repeatedly approaching Hardy and aggressively touching him despite being told to stop. She finally gets in his face and speaks with a slurred speech about his appearance and sexuality.
"You fucking faggots need to learn that equality is what I got," her rant begins. "How are you any better than me?"
She declares, "Republican all the way, baby," and makes derogatory comments.
"Will we gross you out enough to move over one space?" Hardy asks as she approaches her car. Berryhill-Jewell refuses.
"I don't give a fuck that y'all are faggots," she begins again. "Sorry, not sorry. Y'all are faggots."
Hardy says the couple initially declined to press assault charges because they were anxious and wanted her to leave them alone when San Angelo Police officers arrived. However, he says Berryhill-Jewell left Post-It notes with slurs, including "faggot," on his door and their vehicles later in the night, which led him to contact the cops again and commit to pursuing charges.
Throughout the four-month-long investigation, Hardy and his partner initiated an internal affairs investigation by the San Angelo Police Department. They alleges that the responding officers didn't do a proper investigation and ultimately returned evidence to the perpetrator.
Through an open records request, The Advocate asked for access to body-worn camera video, dashboard camera video, 911 call, and radio traffic communications, but an attorney for the town of San Angelo refused to release the information, referring the request instead to the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
The Advocate received a copy of Paxton's office's response indicating the department should release the records.
Tom Green County attorney Chris Taylor did not respond to a request for comment before publication time, but this story will be updated when we hear back.