Transgender Phoenix teen attacked; 3 facing charges

Phoenix police are looking for teen suspects who attacked Dakota Kern over the weekend.

A Phoenix teenager is recovering Monday after being attacked at a pool party. Dakota Kern was at a party near Dunlap and 35th avenues when she was beaten by a group of teens over the weekend.

Kern is transgender and said the assault was a hate crime.

“Somebody said, ‘Get it,’ and then they grabbed me, started pulling on me and fighting me,” Kern said.

Kern told 12 News her friend covered her while she was on the ground as at least three people were kicking and punching her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to make it through it,” she said.

Phoenix police are investigating the incident as a hate crime and told 12 News that a 15-year-old boy has been arrested and at least two other people face charges. In the video, it appears several people witnessed the attack.

Kern said she is speaking out in hopes others transgender people will feel empowered to stand up to hate.

“I want people to know I am going to change the world,” said Kern.

The 18-year-old said she doesn’t remember all the attack after being knocked unconscious. She told 12 News she does remember hearing people yelling gay slurs and then kicking her before she hit her head on the cement.

Police are still investigating the attack and are questioning witnesses. The 15-year-old boy arrested faces an aggravated assault charge.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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