A transgender man from central Texas claims his boss attacked him on the job in an alleged hate crime.
Kièr Rice, a trans male barber who worked at Shear Talent & Barbershop in Killeen, says the owner of the shop, Garfield David Hicks, assaulted him on April 19. After going to the hospital with a concussion, bruised ribs, and a damaged shoulder, Rice posted about the incident on Facebook.
“I was maliciously attacked by Mr. Hicks while I had a [child client] in my chair. After that, I was attacked again while [Hicks’] wife watched the whole thing transpire. I had to be taken to the hospital with three bruised ribs, a concussion, and—just finding out today—a ruined shoulder,” reads Rice’s Facebook post.
In an interview with KWTX-TV, Rice said that prior to the alleged attack, Hicks discriminated against him and other LGBTQ people who went to the shop. Rice also claimed that Hicks had previously misgendered him, called him derogatory terms, and touched him inappropriately.
“[Rice] says he’s been referred to as a female, called derogatory terms, and even smacked on the butt,” KWTX-TV wrote.
According to Rice, things got violent on April 19 after Hicks complained about his sagging pants, and later shoved Rice while he was cutting a child’s hair.
“The next thing I know, he had his right arm around me, had me in a headlock, and was punching me in the back of my head,” Rice said.
Killeen Police confirmed that Rice filed a complaint against Hicks and that an investigator would look into the case. Hicks has not yet been charged with any crime.
Hicks spoke anonymously to KWTX-TV, and the station decided not to name Hicks in their broadcast. Hicks told KWTX-TV that the alleged attack was actually a fight between the two men.
“We exchanged words, and it was a fight,” Hicks said.
After Rice’s Facebook post was shared hundreds of times, Hicks said that he began getting messages from Rice’s supporters. The Facebook page for Shear Talent & Barbershop has since been taken down.
“I don’t know who these people are. I just ask them to leave me alone, so I can get on with my life,” Hicks said.
Rice says that he typically does not share his trans status, but it was known in the shop because his birth name was on his license. He says he went public about his identity online and in interviews, hoping that it would inspire people to treat others with respect.
“Whatever you’re going through at home, keep it away from the workplace,” Rice said. “At all times we are to remain in a professional environment. I’m hurt, I’m wounded, but I’m not evil. Let’s do this the right way.”
Watch KWTX-TV’s report below: