McDonald's Beating Caught on Tape: Was it a Hate Crime?

Was attack on transgendered woman a hate crime?

ByABC News
April 25, 2011, 8:21 AM

April 25, 2011— -- Prosecutors may file hate-crime charges against a woman and a juvenile over the beating of a transgender woman at a Baltimore-area McDonald's.

Since the April 18 incident, a video of the attack has gone viral on the Internet. It shows the pair attacking a trangender woman apparently because she went to use the ladies room.

At one point, the two attackers grabbed the victim, Chrissy Lee Polis, by the hair and dragged her across the restaurant.

"They started ripping my hair, throwing me on the floor, kicking me in my face," Polis told the Baltimore Sun. "Everybody sat there in that McDonald's and watched me get hurt. And nobody did nothing at all. Nobody."

The video was shot by a McDonald's employee who can be heard laughing. Eventually, the video shows a customer who steps in and then an employee to stop the attack.

Polis, who is epileptic, appears to be having a seizure at one point. Workers point as she struggles on the floor, while another warns her attackers to run away. "Y'all need to get out of here, the police are coming!" an employee is heard on the video saying.

Police arrested both alleged attackers. Teonna Monae Brown, 18, is behind bars and charged with felony assault. Her alleged accomplice, who is not being identified because she is 14 years old, also faces assault charges. Both could be charged with a hate crime.

While the employee may have laughed as he shot these images, McDonald's didn't find it funny. They fired him and issued a statement saying, "there's no room for violence under the golden arches, and we strongly condemn this brutal assault. First and foremost, our thoughts are with Chrissy as she recovers. The crew member who videotaped the assault is no longer employed. Our franchisee is also closely examining the behavior of the other employees."

The attack comes on the heels of another violent viral video captured at a McDonald's in Cleveland. A woman there ran her car into a crowd of people outside, injuring three.

Polis says she is afraid to leave her house, but is grateful to the customer who came to her rescue.

"I do want to thank her in person face to face," Polis said. "I do want to thank her because I feel like that's the right thing she did, they would have kept on continuing hurting me even more."

Tonight, transgender advocates plan to rally outside the restaurant.