Trans woman's arrest in Flagstaff sparks backlash
Activists have rallied around a transgender woman charged with aggravated assault in Flagstaff. They allege she was defending herself from a violent attack, but police reports and witness accounts say her actions were unprovoked.
Epona Rose was arrested on August 10 after police say she sprayed two men with mace, physically assaulted at least one and threatened another with a knife in Heritage Square in Downtown Flagstaff.
Both men denied doing anything to provoke Rose and a witness also confirmed their account. One victim told police he did not see anyone touch Rose inappropriately nor comment on her gender. Rose was the only one arrested and was charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault and disorderly conduct.
Rose and activists dispute that narrative, though. They allege the men sexually harassed her before it escalated to physical violence once they realized Rose was transgender.
Rose’s lawyer, Ryan Stevens, says her actions were in self-defense.
"Our priorities in this case are very clear," Stevens said. "First, keep Epona safe and take any action necessary in furtherance of that . . . and to present a complete defense in court that’s likely to include self-defense and other defenses."
They’ve also raised concerns about her safety as a trans woman while being held in the Coconino County Detention Facility.
Rose pleaded not guilty to the charges in court Monday.