Alleged attack on transgender teens in La Crosse labeled hate crime

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — A man accused of attacking a transgender couple in a La Crosse park has been charged with a hate crime.

The La Crosse District Attorney’s Office filed an amended complaint against Travis Crawford, 40, adding a hate crime modifier to the substantial battery charge he was already facing.

“After reviewing all the reports and speaking with the victims, it was determined that would be appropriate,” said La Crosse District Attorney Tim Gruenke in a statement.

Crawford was accused of interrupting a teen couple who were having fun together in Copeland Park on July 20 and hitting a 17-year-old transgender boy in the face, causing severe damage to his nose. Witnesses reported he called the teens a slur for gay men.

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Read the complaint here: Criminal Complaint – County_1 – Crawford, Travis D; 2021CF000554; Crawford, Travis D_2522918_1

Seventeen-year-old Jax Gross talked to News 8 Now last week about the incident. See more here.

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A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for Aug. 12 at 11 a.m.

Community members spoke out last month after the incident, saying it should have been charged as a hate crime. Even La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds called upon lawmakers to ensure the statute would protect transgender people.

This is a developing story.