A man who identifies as a woman was charged with a hate crime after allegedly pepper spraying six people and threatening another with a sharp object last week. All of the alleged victims were white.
It is unclear just how many alleged attacks were committed and just when they started. According to police, Thomas J. Heard, 37, who is black, according to The New York Times, was eventually traced by police with the help of his alleged first victim, whom he attacked with a sharp object in the Bronx, as Fox News reported. Other alleged attacks by Heard included using a pepper spray-like substance on a man at the 125th St. subway station, then pepper-spraying five more people when Heard reached the street. Another alleged attack followed, in which Heard attacked a woman waiting for another subway train.
The New York Times reported, “The first Bronx attack took place on Friday at 2 p.m. A 55-year-old white man was walking with his wife along a busy commercial section of East 187th Street, when Ms. Heard stopped them, used an obscenity to announce her hatred for Caucasians and then sprayed the man in the face with pepper spray, the police said.”
The New York Post , which stated that a total of 11 people were attacked by Heard, reported that Heard “kicked off her latest alleged attack by approaching a couple outside her Bronx apartment building Saturday and demanding to know the woman’s race, cops said. ‘Are you white?’ Heard, who is black, allegedly barked at the 23-year-old woman, before kicking her and threatening her with a sharp object, and dousing her 30-year-old boyfriend with pepper spray, cops said.”
That alleged incident may have been the one caught on a surveillance video showing Heard kicking a woman named Denise Galloway, then pepper-spraying Galloway and her boyfriend, Joe Barbuto. ABC 7 spoke to Galloway, who stated, “All of the sudden, I hear this woman yell at me from behind, ‘I hate you, you expletive expletive!’ I saw her pull something out of her pocket. I didn’t know if it was a gun, I didn’t know if it was a knife — I didn’t know what she had.”
Barbuto got sprayed; he recalled that Heard said, “I’m gonna pepper spray you” before he got sprayed in the face.
The Washington Examiner reported Heard’s neighbors said Heard “hated white people” and “would stand on that corner and scream it.” One neighbor told the Examiner, “She’ll just talk to herself, ranting, ‘White people are privileged and you have to bow down to them. She would come by, like, ‘These mother***ers think you owe them something.’ She must have some trauma associated with white people. You never know what goes on in someone’s mind.”
The New York Times reported that Heard has been arrested more than 60 times since 2002 on charges including prostitution, sexual misconduct and disorderly conduct, according to police.
Heard was arrested on Saturday and charged with assault as a hate crime, menacing as a hate crime, harassment as a hate crime and assault with criminal possession of a weapon.
EXCLUSIVE: more possible victims of “pepper-spray” attack. This woman says suspect physically attacked her in Bronx before spraying boyfriend. Cops say she sprayed 7 victims in Harlem. Being investigated as hate crimes. NYPD determining if this is connected. At 6pm on @ABC7NY. pic.twitter.com/hE5oeM07HN
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) March 9, 2019