KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Accusations of a hate crime are swirling after a transgender man says he was attacked in his own workplace.
Kier Rice. (Photo by Chelsea Edwards)
Kier Rice is a transgender barber who worked at a shop in Killeen where he says he and his LGBTQ clients were treated differently
"He doesn't greet them,” says Rice of the man he says attacked him.
“It was mainly females- lesbians."
Rice says the man who attacked him has teased him before about his orientation.
He says he's been referred to as a female, called derogatory terms, and even smacked on the butt.
But tension came to a head on Friday when his alleged attacker complained about his sagging his pants and later shoved him while he was cutting a little boy's hair.
"His eyes just got real big, and I remember him coming at me,” says Rice.
“The next thing I know, he had his right arm around me, had me in a headlock and was punching the back of my head."
After three bruised ribs, a concussion and a shoulder injury, Rice posted about the incident online, calling it a hate crime.
Within days the post has been shared hundreds of times.
The man he accuses, whom KWTX is not identifying because he hasn’t been charged with any crime, says he has nothing against transgender people.
"We exchanged words and it was a fight,” he says.
He says after the Facebook post went up, he started getting threatening messages and is concerned about the well-being of his family and the shop's customers.
"Keira and her friends have been texting my phone,” he said.
“I don't know who these people are. I just ask them to leave me alone, so I can go on with my life," he adds.
Rice says he doesn't usually share his transgender status, but it was known in the shop because his birth name was on his license.
He also went public after the incident hoping people can learn about how they should treat others.
Killeen police say now that Rice has filed a complaint, an investigator will look into the case.
Rice, meanwhile, is also considering a civil suit for which, he says, he's seeking an attorney.