A video was shared to Facebook of a group of transgender women being physically dragged out of a bar.
According to the video and the women's accounts of the incident, they were being harassed and attacked by a straight couple before being forced out of a popular bar called Las Perlas in downtown LA by security staff.
The footage went viral on social media over the weekend where security staff are shown to be grabbing multiple transgender women and shoving them out of the bar. The women said they were violently thrown out on Friday night after a couple inside the bar yelled slurs at them and physically attacked them.
LAPD has now opened an investigation after the group filed a hate-crime report.
Police said in a statement the incident would "thoroughly investigated," adding, "Whether in public, or inside of a private establishment, all Angelenos deserve the freedom to coexist in harmony."
The group of eight from Bienestar Human Services, which focuses on health issues in Latino and LGBTQ communities, were celebrating at the bar after the first day of a local LGBTQ festival when the couple began directing "transphobic slurs" at their table, Khloe Rios, one of the women whose removal was caught on camera, told CNN.
The group which included transgender women of colour, gay men of colour and a gender non-conforming person, told the couple to leave them alone, Rios said, but the couple seemed drunk and did not take them seriously.
Next, the man became physically aggressive towards one of Rio's coworkers so her group immediately tried to defend and protect her from being harmed.
"We just wanted to protect each other," Rios said. "We were trying to get them off our backs. We didn't want no confrontation but they were being very violent."
Once the bar manager and security arrived to try sort out the situation, the couple were "gently" escorted outside, Rio's recalls.
But when herself and the other members of the group were asked to leave, they forcefully pushed them outside.
In the video recorded by Rio's, one person is screaming "Don't touch me like that," as they are unwillingly grabbed and slammed against a wall before being thrown out.
Another security guard is seen holding one person in a chokehold and dragging them across the bar.
Rios then stopped filming as she was dragged out.
The CEO of the company that owns the bar, Cedd Moses, defended the security guards' actions, saying: "Our manager on duty asked both groups to leave as the safety and security of our patrons and employees is our top priority and we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior ... The guards removed the guests that were not compliant with the manager's request to leave and did so in accordance with company policy."
Rio's told CNN that she is trying to stay strong about the incident and use it to push for stronger anti-discrimination policies across LA although she is suffering from the trauma.
The incident has come at a time of increased anti-LGBTQ hate crimes across the US.