(video courtesy of Towerlight.com)
A transgendered woman, Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, was beaten at a Baltimore County McDonald’s restaurant on April 18th after stopping to use the ladies room. According to Polis, the girls, Teonna Monae Brown, 18, and an unnamed minor, aged 14, initiated the attack by verbally assaulting Polils as well as spitting in her face. Allegedly the attack was brought on by one of the girls accusing Polis of talking to “my man” and then the realization that Polis was transgendered. The brutal attack lasted several minutes and was caught on video tape by one of the Rosedale restaurant employees, Vernon Hackett, 22.
Hackett was quoted on his Facebook page as saying “That Was Not A Female”, when he posted the video and details of the fight. He went on to write that Polis had no right to be in the women’s room and was asked to leave. “He Got Smart With Everybody So Tha Two Girls Beat Him Up…..It Was Not A GIRL.” The graphic video went viral on the internet. Hackett has since been fired from his position at the restaurant.
According to Baltimore County Police spokesperson Lt. Robert McCullough, prosecutors are working with law enforcement to determine if hate crime charges should be brought against the two females for the vicious attack. “Generally when it comes to cases that involve racial, religious, ethnic or sexual orientation from an investigative standpoint, we approach the case from the perspective of the victim,” McCullough said in a statement to the Associated Press.
During the attack only one employee attempted to intervene. The others can be seen standing in a group watching and even heard laughing on the video. A patron, Vicky Thoms, who entered the restaurant during the attack made an attempt to assist Polis but was punched in the face by one of the girls. Even as Polis suffered what appeared to be an epileptic seizure from the trauma, employees continued to stand idly by. The attack ended after the employee videotaping alerted the attackers that the police had been called.
Polis suffered cuts to her face and bruising on her body as well as a seizure. Polis stated that this was not an isolated incident. Since her gender reassignment surgery, she states she has suffered multiple acts of violence, including sexual assault due to her transgender status. “I feel that you don’t have to explain yourself to nobody. Be who you are and go as you are. But people don’t want that to happen.” Her fear now is that the publicity from this case will bring on more acts of violence as well as inhibit her ability to get a job. “I want to cry, but I need to hold my head up,” she told the Baltimore Sun.
“As a community we remain horrified that transgender citizens are so vulnerable that they can be brutalized … for simply walking down the street,” said Lisa Polyak, vice president of the board of directors for Equality Maryland. “She was simply trying to use a public accommodation. People should not feel threatened when they exist in public space.” Equality Maryland has called on state Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler to step in and investigate the case as a hate crime. More than 200 people gathered in the parking lot of the McDonald’s, for a rally Monday night. Polis did not attend.
More than 130,000 people have signed a viral petition campaign on Change.org calling on McDonald’s and Maryland authorities to take action.
- After the Baltimore McDonald’s attack, trans people are newly resolute (guardian.co.uk)
- Jenice Armstrong: Videotaped attack shows teen’s intolerance toward the transgender (Philly.com)
Transgender beating victim: It was a hate crime (cbsnews.com)
- Baltimore Attack On Transgender Woman Debated As Hate Crime (npr.org)
- VIDEO: Transgendered Woman Attacked at Baltimore-area McDonald’s (theroot.com)
- Chrissy Lee Polis, Victim In Maryland McDonald’s Attack, Alleges Hate Crime (huffingtonpost.com)
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