Akasha Adonis — the transgender woman who claimed she was punched in the face by another customer at 3am during a Black Friday sale at Kohl’s in Jacksonville, Tenn., and then brushed off by cops at the scene because she is trans — has some answering to do, say police, who viewed the surveillance tape and say it was Adonis who threw the first punch.
After Adonis and her mother Lisa Bolin, who was at the store during the incident, accused the cops of failing to pull the security tape, it looks like the request has backfired, reports the Jackson Sun.
The incident happened minutes after 3 a.m. Nov. 26 when Kohl’s employees opened the doors for shoppers waiting in line outside the store. According to statements from Bates and his girlfriend, Rebecca Wood, they had been waiting in line about two hours. Adonis, 24, and her mother, Lisa Bolin, told police they arrived shortly before 3 a.m. and saw the line in front of the store. Kohl’s employees motioned for them and some other people to go into another door where no one was waiting. As Adonis and Bolin entered the breezeway, Wood confronted them and told them to get back in line, according to statements. The groups exchanged words, and Adonis stepped in front of her mother. Bates, 31, then stepped in front of his girlfriend, the statements say. No video footage of the breezeway was made available, police said.
While showing the footage, Capt. Mike Holt said police believe the video shows Adonis assaulted Bates first and Bates punched back as the two came through the doors. In her statement, Adonis says Bates began to push and hit her first. “He grabbed the back of my head to latch onto me but he pulled of(f) a hair piece and chunk of my hair. Then he goes to punch me in the mouth sliding his thumb in my mouth like a fish hook.” Bates says in his statement that Adonis landed the first punch. “I walked up and asked why are they talking to my girl like that. Then the taller woman starting(ed) pointing her finger in my face. Then I realized she was a man. I told him, you’re a man and I just saw you chest bumping my woman … She swung at me. He grabbed me with one hand and swung with the other.” Video footage inside the store shows Adonis and Bates in a tussle with Bates’ thumb inside Adonis’ mouth. The police file contains pictures of Adonis’ mouth with several teeth knocked out. Her jaw also was broken. Pictures of Bates’ show scratches on his face and a badly lacerated thumb.
Can eyewitness reports be inaccurate? And video tape be misleading? Certainly. But in determining who threw the first punch (and thus who acted in self-defense), investigators sound pretty certain it was Adonis who started the physical aspect to the fight. Which means the $6,000 in dental work she required after three of her teeth were knocked out is her own responsibility. Meanwhile, the tape was shown to District Attorney General Jerry Woodall, whose office now says it doesn’t plan on prosecuting anyone. Which seems to please both parties: neither wants to press charges.