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Alleged gender-related attack in La Crosse park not eligible for “hate crime” status



An alleged attack in a La Crosse park against two juveniles, including a transgender female, cannot be prosecuted as a “hate crime” in La Crosse County, and the mayor of La Crosse has spoken out about that. 


Mayor Mitch Reynolds said the two juveniles — reported to be a biological male and a female who’s transgender — were attacked and called names by a 40-year-old man at Copeland Park on Tuesday. 

Suspect Travis Crawford is in La Crosse County jail for disorderly conduct and substantial battery.

Crawford allegedly accused the juveniles of stealing his bike, as well as engaging in sexual activity. He also used anti-gay slurs while talking to them.

The male victim said he tried to get Crawford to go away and was kicked in the face by him.

In a statement from the mayor’s office, Reynolds said Wisconsin state law does not classify offenses against transgender victims as hate crimes. 

La Crosse district attorney Tim Gruenke said use of the hate crime enhancer is limited.

The law “may enhance the crime of battery to add additional punishment,” Gruenke said, “but transgender is not one of the options under the hate crime legislation.”    

Crawford has been assigned a public defender, and he has a preliminary hearing scheduled next week.

“We could always add additional counts,” Gruenke said. “Usually after a preliminary hearing, we file what’s called an arraignment … and we could file additional charges there as well. So, there are opportunities to modify or change or add additional charges.”



A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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