Arrest in 2022 attack on transgender woman in Philly comes amid rise in crime against LGBTQ+ community

City prosecutors say the arrest is a sign of improving cooperation between the LGBTQ+ community and law enforcement.

Seal for the Philly DA's Office

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office. (Angela Gervasi / Billy Penn)

Police have extradited a man accused of beating a transgender woman last summer outside a club in Philadelphia. The arrest comes as part of what police and the District Attorney’s Office say is a renewed alliance with the LGBTQ+ community.

Last June, three people were shot and a transgender woman was pistol-whipped outside an after hours club in the 300-block of Westmoreland Street.

Joel Martinez, the man accused of beating the woman, was arrested in December in Camden, but it took until now for him to be extradited to Philadelphia.

Kelly Burkhardt, the DA’s LGBTQ+ Liaison and Victim Witness Coordinator, said the arrest came after community members gave assistance in identifying the suspect.

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“We’re breaking down the barriers between the LGBTQIA community and law enforcement,” she said. The incident “was very disturbing because it’s yet one more piece of violence that has happened towards a member of the LGBTQ community, particularly Black trans women, who generally have been targeted. And when we find out about these things, we immediately rush to make sure folks are okay and do that support.”

Asa Kalif, a member of the LGBTQ+ advisory committee in the District Attorney’s Office said this arrest sends a message.

“We’ve lost too many because of the violence, because of the homophobia, because of the hate. We are not going back into the closet,” Kalif said. “If you think that you’re going to attack us, and there will not be some type of consequence with that, legal consequence, you are sadly mistaken.”

DAO officials say crimes against the community are on the rise nationally and locally. They’re hopeful that the new era of cooperation will stem that rise as more people committing those crimes are arrested.

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