ANN ARBOR, Mich. – An Ann Arbor man is facing several charges after allegedly violently assaulting a woman for being transgender -- a hate crime in the state of Michigan.
Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit on Thursday announced charges against James Greggs, 59, for allegedly assaulting a transgender woman on June 8. Officials accuse Greggs of cutting the woman with a box cutter, hitting her in the face, strangling her and grabbing her breasts “in an effort to humiliate her.”
Greggs was arraigned on June 15 in Washtenaw County on one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of felonious assault and one count of ethnic intimidation (the name of Michigan’s hate crimes law). Officials say Greggs may face up to 15 years in prison for the criminal sexual conduct charge alone, if convicted.
- The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office has compiled legal guidance on hate crimes against people based on their gender identity or sexual orientation that can be found here.
Officials say an advocate from the Fair Michigan Justice Project assisted prosecutors with the charges against Greggs.
“My office partnered with Fair Michigan (Justice Project) last March specifically to address crimes against members of the LGBTQ community,” Savit said Thursday. “We are grateful for their assistance in facing the circumstances in this case, and will steadfastly pursue justice for the victim and the community.”
Savit, a civil rights lawyer who built his career on public safety and treating people fairly, took office as county prosecutor this year, and has since issued sweeping progressive policy changes -- including a focus on prosecuting LGBTQ-targeted hate crimes under Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation law.
Savit worked with FMJP to create a directive, signed in April, that requires all employees of the prosecutor’s office to treat community members according to their gender identity, not by the sex they were assigned at birth or what is on their government identification. When announcing the directive, Savit noted that it was a matter of public safety, as misgendering by law enforcement can increase distrust and lead to additional consequences.
More: ‘We are really focused on equity’: New Washtenaw County prosecutor makes sweeping changes