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Black trans woman released from police custody following protests

Last Updated Jul 31, 2020 at 7:01 pm EDT

Celebrations arose from protesters outside Toronto police’s 55 Division after a Black trans woman arrested for assault was released from police custody following a bail hearing Friday.

Protests began Thursday night at 14 Division after Moka Dawkins, 30, was charged with one count each of assault, uttering threats causing bodily harm and failure to comply with probation. She was later moved to 55 Division.

In a release, police say the charges stemmed from an incident on Thursday in a residence in the College and Bathurst streets area.

Police responded to an assault call at the home around 1:35 p.m. They say what began as a dispute in the home escalated and an “assault and threats took place between two individuals.”

Black Lives Matter and Not Another Black Life were among the groups who quickly rallied to demand her freedom, leaving Dawkins visibly emotional upon her release around 3 p.m. on Friday.

“To go through what I went through and just to see the community come together so quickly … love, support and just be there for one another,” she said to the crowd. “I’m just an individual.”

Hundreds of protesters were present to see her release and Dawkins said she felt very blessed to see the reaction from people.

“I thought I was blessed, very thankful to have people in my life who immediately, from one phone call, they are there and they are able to gather so much support. It means a lot,” she told CityNews outside 55 Division.

Advocates in Toronto say Dawkins’ arrest is the latest instance where members of the Black and other marginalized communities have been targeted by the Toronto Police Service.

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