Woman says police shrugged off her assault because she’s transAround the City, Latest Issue Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Thom Senzee, author of this article, is a West Coast-based freelance journalist, and a regular contributor to San Diego LGBT Weekly.
Jasmine Dominguez took an umbrella when she left her house one wet Friday in December, 2014.
“I was glad I had my umbrella,” she tells San Diego LGBT Weekly. “It was raining by the time I got back home. But I didn’t know someone was going to beat me up with it – and I definitely never thought I’d be walking home with umbrella marks on my body.”
Dominguez, 57, was born and raised in San Diego. She doesn’t think of herself as a transgender woman.
“I am a woman,” she says. “That’s it.”
But, she says, bias against transgender women has prevented her from getting justice following her alleged assault in 2014.
Dominguez’s home in the Rolando neighborhood isn’t far from San Diego State University. Though it was still light, the sun had just gone down when she got off the bus and headed to a small market near her house.
Dominguez looked forward to getting home – the same home where she grew up – and out of the wet weather after picking up some groceries.
But her plans would be drastically interrupted.
“I still feel it,” she says. “I still wonder when it will happen again.”
“It” was a violent assault allegedly perpetrated by a man whose name she didn’t know until LGBT Weekly discovered the FBI knew it – though, she says, hadn’t shared it with her. Our investigation found that law enforcement officials, from the FBI to the San Diego Police Department, acknowledge that an assault happened – however, are dubious about how prosecutable the case would be in court.
“I’m from this neighborhood,” Dominguez tells LGBT Weekly. “It’s not a bad neighborhood, but there are some gang members or people who act like they’re in gangs here. This guy – he was a white guy – had been calling me ‘boxy-boy’ since earlier in the summer. I had to look it up. Boxy-boy means ‘fag’ or ‘boy-on-boy’ or ‘queer.’”
A Google search reveals the slur, “boxy boy” is akin to another antigay Jamaican insult: “batty boy.” According to Dominguez, the man, who we have learned is Joseph Paul Andrus, had allegedly hurled the peculiar epithet at her throughout several months leading up to the incident.
“The tattoo parlor closed the next day,” she says. “And the police said they couldn’t find any records about who owned it, or who the manager was. But I know it was that guy because I saw him every week for months there. Sometimes he was the only one out there; he was always smoking outside.”
In 2015, a San Diego Police Department spokesman told LGBT Weekly that they had no information about a suspect in the case. Yet later that same year, we were told it had been referred to the City Attorney’s Office for prosecutorial consideration.
“I understand this case was rejected for prosecution by a federal grand jury, the District Attorney’s Office and the City Attorney’s Office,” San Diego City Attorney’s Office chief of staff, Gerry Braun said.
In 2016, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which oversaw the FBI’s investigation of the case, a “community advisory hate crimes commission” that recommends whether or not potential hate-crimes cases involving members of San Diego’s LGBTQ community declined to recommend prosecution in Dominguez’s case. Though its composition is opaque by design, the members of that commission are said to include LGBTQ-community leaders.
Next month will mark the three-year mark since the attack. It’s been almost as long since LGBT Weekly first met with Jasmine Dominguez to learn what happened. During that first interview, we shot smartphone photos of red marks on her torso that she says were a result of Andrus beating her with her own umbrella.
According to Dominguez, when she came out of Sky Liquor on College Avenue at Billman Street near the 94 Freeway and University Avenue that fateful day in 2014, an agitated Andrus was standing outside of the now-shuttered Black Rose Tattoo parlor, located next door.
LGBT Weekly learned recently that Black Rose Tattoo in Rolando was a satellite shop of a mothership Black Rose store in Pacific Beach. The Rolando location was about to close because it had not been profitable.
“I bought a few items and I came out of the liquor store, and the guy was there outside and started saying, ‘what are you still doing here, boxy boy; why don’t you get the fuck out of this neighborhood?’”
That’s when another man and a woman entered the picture, according to Dominguez. Three transphobic, homophobic epithet-hurling assailants allegedly abused her verbally. But, she alleges, it was the man who we now know was Paul Joseph Andrus, who snatched her umbrella away and began beating and prodding her with it.
“He also sprayed my face with pepper spray,” Dominguez adds. Dominguez showed LGBT Weekly video-recorded portions of the aftermath of the incident, which according to metadata on the video, was shot on the day in question. A handful of shorter-than-10-second clips, show two Caucasian males in a verbal altercation with Dominguez. None of the videos captured the alleged assault and battery.
LGBT Weekly recently interviewed by phone a man who asked not to be identified by name, but who said he was the manager of Black Rose Tattoo in Pacific Beach. The P.B. store’s manager says he knows Andrus and is familiar with the incident, but disputes Dominguez’s account.
“First of all, she was drunk,” he said. “Second, our company is very accepting of the LGBT community. We would like to sit down and talk with Jasmine about what happened. It was all a misunderstanding.”
Dominguez denies being drunk.
The manager said he would pass a message along to Paul Joseph Andrus, but that he didn’t work with the company anymore. Since our interview the Pacific Beach store has also closed.
“I don’t think he’ll talk to you though,” he told LGBT Weekly. “His lawyer told him not to.”
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