CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A transgender woman is recovering from serious injuries after she was attacked in a west Charlotte park last week.
Federal authorities confirmed Monday that they are working with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police as the department investigates the attack.
"I really felt like I was dying slow," said the 24-year-old, who is known as Ralayzia. She spoke with Channel 9 via video call on the condition that her face was not shown.
Ralayzia said she was at Clanton Park, near Clanton Road and West Boulevard, around 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 7 when she saw a group of people walking past.
"They stopped one time, you know, and just looked at me kind of funny, so I already knew maybe I need to move or something," she said.
She said they began jogging toward her and she ran, but dropped her phone. She said they caught up to her and attacked her in the woods outside the park.
"I'm in the woods, I couldn't even move, I'm getting all cut up by trees and everything," she told Channel 9.
According to the police report, at least one of the suspects had a hatchet. Ralayzia said she was stabbed in the back while the group tried to rob her.
"After that third time of that knife being stabbed in my back, I'm just like, 'Oh, I don't think I can do it,'" she said.
Eventually, she said her attackers stopped and she was able to get help.
CMPD said they have arrested Dajion Tanner, 18, Destiny Dagraca, 18, and a 15-year-old boy in connection to the incident.
(Dagraca and Tanner)
The 15-year-old was not named because of his age, a spokesperson said. Tanner and Dagraca are in the Mecklenburg County jail on charges ranging from attempted murder to kidnapping.
Channel 9 uncovered that Tanner is a convicted felon and was on probation for breaking and entering and common law robbery.
Ralayzia told Channel 9 that the attackers yelled homophobic slurs during her attack.
North Carolina hate crime statutes do not apply to sexual orientation or gender identity. The LGBT rights group, Equality NC, is demanding for that to change.
"We're renewing our call for the state to pass a hate crimes bill that includes sexual orientation and gender identity," said Matt Hirschy with Equality NC
The federal hate crime law does include sexual orientation and gender. An FBI Charlotte spokesperson told Channel 9 that the agency is aware, monitoring and working with CMPD on the incident.
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