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McDonald's Beating Video Goes Viral Online; Transgender Groups To Protest

8:13 PM, Apr 25, 2011   |    comments
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Video: 2 Charged In McDonald's Attack, Rally To Be Held

Beating at a Baltimore McDonald's may have been racially motivated.

WARNING: The video below is graphic and disturbing, and contains racist foul language.

UPDATE: Monday, April 25, 9:11 p.m.:

ROSEDALE, Md. (AP) -- Baltimore County prosecutors are reviewing whether further charges, including hate crimes counts, are warranted in an attack on a transgender woman at a McDonald's that was caught on video, authorities said Monday.

The review of the April 18 beating also will determine whether others will be charged, State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger said Monday.

The video posted online shows a woman being attacked outside the restroom of the restaurant in Rosedale and apparently having a seizure. Teonna Monae Brown, 18, was arrested Friday and charged with first- and second-degree assault. A 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile.

The woman beaten, 22-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis, told The Baltimore Sun that before she was attacked she heard a teen say Polis was a man using the women's restroom and accused Polis of talking to her man. The 14-year-old told police that she and Brown fought with Polis over using the restroom, according to charging documents.

Vicky Thoms said she walked into the restaurant to find the two teens beating Polis. No one was helping the woman and one bystander was even recording the attack with his cell phone camera, she said. When she stepped up and asked the girls to stop, Thoms ended up getting punched in the face herself, she said.

"She hit me like a man would hit and she was 14 years old," she said.

Afterward, a man behind the counter asked Thoms if she realized that the person being beaten was a not a woman and was transgendered.

"I told him, `No I didn't and I don't care,"' she said. "He said he worked with her and she had a smart mouth -- in other words, she deserved it."

Since the attack, Thoms said her nerves are shot and she can't stop crying. She told her family about it, but they didn't understand how awful the situation was until they saw the video on television last week.

"They couldn't watch it," she said.

Polis and her family plan to attend a Monday evening rally organized by advocates for transgender rights to condemn the attack. Thoms said she might attend, too.

Crimes against transgender people are included in the state's hate crime law, but advocates who pushed for a bill that would have extended housing and employment protections say this shows that discrimination against the group is real. The bill passed the House, but was never brought to the Senate floor for a vote.

Bill sponsor Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk her fellow lawmakers, asking them to view the video of the attack that went viral last week and consider being a co-sponsor of a stronger bill in next year's session.

"Incidents such as this illustrate why the transgender community in Maryland and elsewhere needs to be protected through antidiscrimination legislation," she wrote in the email.

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UPDATE: Monday, April 25:

ROSEDALE, Md. (AP) -- An 18-year-old Rosedale woman has been charged in a fight with a transgender woman over using a McDonald's restroom.

Police announced Monday that Teonna Monae Brown was arrested Friday and charged with first- and second-degree assault. A video of the April 18 fight posted online shows a woman being attacked and apparently having a seizure.

The victim, 22-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgender woman, told The Baltimore Sun that before she was attacked she heard a teen say she was a man using the women's restroom. According to charging documents, a 14-year-old girl charged as a juvenile in the case told police that she and Brown fought with Polis over using the restroom.

A rally condemning the attack is set for 7 p.m. Monday outside the restaurant in Rosedale.

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Friday, April 22nd: BALTIMORE (AP) --Baltimore County police say two teens are facing charges following a videotaped beating at a fast-food restaurant.

Police said Friday that a 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile and charges are pending against an 18-year-old female.

Police say officers who responded to the McDonald's restaurant on Monday found a 22-year-old woman who appeared to be having a seizure. Police say witnesses told the officers the woman had been assaulted by two female suspects.

A videotape of the beating posted online shows a woman being attacked repeatedly while an employee tries to separate them. The video prompted the company to issue a statement Friday condemning the incident.

Our Concern Regarding the Baltimore Video Incident:

"We are shocked by the video from a Baltimore franchised restaurant showing an assault. This incident is unacceptable, disturbing and troubling. McDonald's strives to be a safe, welcoming environment for everyone who visits. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of customers and employees in our restaurants. We are working with the franchisee and the local authorities to investigate this matter."

The franchise owner also released a statement:

"I'm as shocked and disturbed by this incident as anyone would be. The behavior displayed in the video is unfathomable and reprehensible.

The safety of our customers is a top priority. We know the police were called immediately, and we are thoroughly investigating this matter."

Mitchell McPherson
Franchise Owner

According to several news reports, a McDonald's employee took credit for posting the video on social media sites but has since deleted his accounts.

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