Attack on Transgendered Woman Prompts Community Response
Community members and civil-rights advocates are speaking out against violence in the wake of a brutal assault on a transgender woman inside a Baltimore McDonald’s earlier this month.
On Monday, more than one hundred supporters gathered outside the restaurant on Kenwood Avenue in Rosedale to conduct a public demonstration against violence and discrimination.
Organizers took donations for Chrissy Polis, 23, the latest victim of what they deem as a vicious hate crime.
The beating happened on April 18. A McDonald’s employee captured the incident on a cell phone camera. The horrifying footage was posted on YouTube and the video went viral, despite being promptly removed by site administrators.
The employee who recorded the incident has since been fired.
In the footage, two teenage girls attack Polis as she tries to enter the women’s restroom. For several minutes, they repeatedly punch and kick Polis, and pull her across the floor by her hair.
Both an employee and restaurant patron named Vicky Thoms are the only two onlookers who intervene. Thoms is punched in the face as she tries to shelter the victim from the blows. Meanwhile, the rest of the bystanders can be heard, laughing and cheering in the background.
Towards the end of the clip, Polis receives a devastating blow to her head and she appears to succumb to a seizure. An unidentified man then tells the suspects to run away because the police are on their way.
Polis’ injuries were treated at Franklin Square Hospital Center.
Investigators have identified Polis’ attackers as Teonna Monae Brown, 18, and a 14-year-old girl whose name has not been released.
Brown was charged with first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault. She was ordered held without bail. Her companion was charged as a juvenile with second-degree assault.
Baltimore County State’s Attorneys have not ruled out adding charges of committing a hate crime to the case.
During Monday’s rally, Polis’ mother, Renee, publicly expressed her gratitude to Thoms, 55, for her heroic actions.
“I’ll never forget you for this,” she said.
Caroline Temmermand, a local advocate for the transgender community, also addressed the crowd, saying the video was “shocking to all of us.”
“Violence against anybody just shouldn’t be.”