Chanel Austin, a 36-year-old transgender woman from the Bronx who was held at Rikers Island last spring after being arrested on grand larceny charges, plans to sue New York City for $3 million for transferring her out of the 30-bed transgender housing unit and into an all-male unit.
According to the New York Daily News, inmates in the all-male unit assaulted and harassed Austin—breaking a chair against her back while she was on the phone one day and peeing in her cell another. One man allegedly tried to rape her.
“Her constitutional rights were violated in these instances—because of her gender, this is what she was exposed to,” her lawyer, Matthew Waller, said. Austin filed a $3 million Notice of Claim against the city in July, and Waller said he intends to file suit in federal court later this week.