Austin leads state in hate crimes

The attack was last summer, but the horrific memories linger in Stephanie Perdue's head.

"I'm feeling nervous still. It's one of those things you never really recover from completely. I still wake up with weird nightmares," said Perdue. Last summer she met with this man, Rayshad Deloach in a Northwest Austin apartment complex after talking on social media. 

Police say he ambushed her and came outside with another man, and they attacked her. "They had already hit me once and knocked me to the ground and I lost my glasses. All I saw was this big object over me. It looked like a rock but I found out later it was a log, and I was thinking this is how it ends for you," said Perdue.

She never was hit with the log once she handed over her purse, but she was badly beaten.

The attacker told police he targeted her because she was transgender.

"The first one pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the second one I had worked with from the beginning. He had no record, I wanted him to have a chance at life so we came up with a compromise for him," she said.

Her attack was one of the hate crimes from last year. According to FBI data, Austin now leads the state in number of reported hate crimes. The city sits at 18 in 2017.

Hate crimes can come in different forms the top motive in Austin, racial motivation. "I don’t really understand. Austin overall is a very safe community. I’m not sure what the driving force is behind that," said Lt. Daniel Watson, Austin Police Department.

He is on the hate crimes committee. "If we do have a crime we will look at it and find out if there is a hate crime bias associated with it,” said Watson.

There is a problem Perdue has with the system in Texas

"The hate crime title code itself isn't a crime, it's an enhancement to another crime," said Watson.

"I would like to see our hate crimes laws change, where a hate crime would be a separate law," said Perdue. Perdue has since, gotten married, and looks toward her future. But the live music capital has a statistic that she hopes all in Central Texas can work to stop from growing. "It's ok to not understand somebody. It's ok to not approve of somebody but it's not ok to hurt somebody," said Perdue.

Hate crimes in the nation are up 17 percent according to the FBI.