ATLANTA - One of the suspects from a fight on a MARTA train a few weeks ago says he and his friends were provoked by the transgendered women.
Luther Thomas, who goes by Lamar, spoke to Channel 2’s Erin Coleman about the video of the fight that went viral.
Last week, MARTA police charged Thomas and his friend Frederick L. Missick with disorderly conduct and suspended them from the transit service.
Thomas admits things got out of hand after he lost his temper on the train last month, but claims he and his friends were trying to mind their own business and were provoked to fight.
“See that he keeps getting closer and closer,” said Thomas as he explained what happened in the video. “I'm not saying nothing.”
In the video, you can see him kick and then punch one of two transgender women, but he says what you don't see, is how it all started.
“These guys they came on to me,” said Thomas. “Even the one that looked exactly like a female said she liked guys with dreads.”
He says he repeatedly denied their advances, which caused a scene. Then he says he felt threatened.
“He's calling me the ‘n word’ and then [smacking his hands saying] y’all better get him,” said Thomas. “[They were] getting closer and closer.”
The fight escalated, and one of the women ended up with no clothes on.
“The camera didn't show that, but he pulled off his skirt and that's when he was totally naked,” said Thomas. “We did not strip him.”
Last week, the women told us, Thomas and another suspect followed them, taunted them, and instigated the fight. Thomas says that's just not true.
“I hate that it did happen,” said Thomas. “I hate that I lost my temper. If I could do it all over again I probably would have moved to another car or got off the train or something.”
A MARTA spokesperson told Coleman this is still an open and active investigation. They are still looking for witnesses, but in the meantime they're reaching out to the LGBT community to make sure they feel safe on the system.
“I don't hate gay people at all. That's not in my character at all. But when you are a gay guy and you come on to a straight guy and I tell you I don't go that way then just let it be.”
MARTA police have arrested Thomas before in 2005. He says he's a DJ and admits to illegally selling mix tapes on the train.