Fourteen teenagers have been arrested by authorities in Lancaster, England, in connection to a brutal transphobic attack that left victims bloodied, bruised and hospitalised.
The youths, aged between 14 and 17, were arrested 16 and 17 December by officers in connection with two separate incidents which saw verbal slurs curdle into acts of violence, with one being considered by police as a hate crime.
All suspects were released under investigation, the Lancaster Guardian reported.
On 24 October, a group of four friends were in Williamson Park when a gang targeted them, hurling transphobic insults.
A man, said by police to be in his 20s, was struck on the back on his head and was forced to drive himself to hospital where he received treatment for a significant head injury which required six stitches.
A teenage girl was pulled by her hair and repeatedly kicked, while another threatened to call the police as her attackers attempted to knock her phone out of her hand. They proceeded to tug her hair and dragged her to the middle of the road.
She managed to get up and make it to safety in the male victim’s car.
In an earlier attack on 3 October, a man and a woman were walking with friends along Penny Street in the St Nicholas Arcades neighbourhood when they were confronted.
Hurling verbal slurs, the 19-year-old man was punched in the face, fracturing his eye socket, while the 20-year-old woman was pummeled, kicked and dragged. Suffering a bloodied nose and lip, both were rushed to the Royal Lancaster Hospital.
Inspector James Martin of Lancaster Police said: “These were two particularly shocking and violent incidents where several people, without provocation, were targeted and attacked.
“While we have made a number of arrests I would like to make it clear that we do not tolerate any form of abuse and will work tirelessly to bring those involved to justice.
“Everyone has the right to live free from fear of abuse. Abusing someone simply because of who they are is unacceptable.
“Lancashire Constabulary does not tolerate hate crime and we would encourage anyone who is the victim of prejudice or hostility to contact us.”